NIGERIAN shippers operating under the aegis of Shippers Association Lagos State (SALS) are seeking 35 per cent reduction seeking 35 per cent reduction of shipping charges during the nationwide lockdown.
The charges are provided in Nigerian Shippers’ Council Memorandum of Agreement.
Making the call in a statement released today, President of SALS, Jonathan Nicol said that shippers should not be sanctioned for a situation they did not cause even though the lockdown compelled them to carry out their transactions across the ports with attendant heavy losses.
According to Nicol, shippers lost more than N5 trillion in one month due to the coronavirus pandemic by forcing businesses, banks, offices and factories to shut down.
“The lock down made it impossible to pay Customs duties as expected. Banks, factories and offices were shutdown as well. So, there were gross limitations on the shippers to do the needful. It is a national lockdown that no one can violate, which is still prevailing.
The period of demurrages has no distinction; rather the government gave the incentive as palliative for shutting down our businesses for one month. But we lost more than N5 trillion during that one month. There are levels of actions which smaller branches of bank can discharge.
We also call on shipping staff of various enterprises to pick shipping documents and conduct duty and terminal fee payments to compliment the efforts of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council in cargo clearance, especially for industries.
Much as we are concerned about the current precautionary health conditions, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council representing Government directives would need your support in this respect,” he said.
Nicol however commended Nigerian Ports Authority and Nigerian Shippers’ Council for securing demurrage waiver to cover the period of the COVID-19 lockdown, and therefore appealed to the Nigerian Shippers’ Council to prevail on Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and NAFDAC to emulate NPA by waiving their handling charges on cargo for the period of battling the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic virus.
He hinted that the Association would be glad if banks could open for, at least, twice in a week to discharge shipping documents and confirmation of duty and terminal payments.