By Godfrey Bivbere
GENERAL Secretary of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Mr. Uchu Block, has accused the management of APM Terminals, concessionaires of Apapa Container Terminal of exploiting importers and their agents through the introduction of N12,500 trucking fee for the scanning of containers.
Block who spoke with Vanguard on the issue, said that the private terminal operator’s collection of the trucking fee which should have been be part of the terminal charges that they are already taking from importers and their agents in excess.
The NCMDLCA helmsman explained that APM Terminal presently collects N67,500 and N45,500 respectively for 1x 40” and 1x 20” foot containers as Terminal Handling Charges (THC) and in addition the management also extracts from them N11,250 and N7,500 as fees for container Positioning for Customs Examination (PCE), as well as an extra N6,, 895 and N5,515 for what they term Delivery Charges (DC) for the 1x 40” and 1x 20” foot containers respectively.
He noted that PCE and DC are actually supposed to have been incorporated in THC but because there is no agency regulating the function of these private terminal operators, they slam charges on importers and their agents indiscriminately.
Block who is also the Chairman of Chinex Investment Nigeria Limited, said although it is possible to achieve 48 hours clearance of cargo from the port, private terminal operators deliberately slow down the process to continue to extract money from importers and their agents.
According to him, he sent his staff to APM Terminal recent to book for container examination position at about 10am and his staff was sent back that they have closed for the day. Block explained that the had to go there himself before the lady in-charge reluctantly booked the 20 x 20 foot containers of rice for examination.
The implication he explained is that he and his principle would pay extra two or three days storage charge.
He noted that in booking for container examination, he had to book about seven to ten days ahead because the terminal operator would take about two to three days before positioning the container for examination and the owner is also expected to pay for the delay.
He pointed out that the terminal operator insist that payment is made before examination and if one is lucky to get the goods out before the time that one has paid for, one is expected for apply for a refund which most agents do not border to do.