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Illegal Charges: Freight forwarders set for a show-down with shipping firms

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Blame them for failures in exports

By Eguono Odjegba

The All Ports Unified Freight Forwarding Practitioners Association has said it is set to galvanize other freight associations in the Nigerian port industry to resist the regime of arbitrary levies by shipping lines.

Maritime

In a chat with  Vanguard Maritime Report, the group hinted that the time has come for a united campaign and resistance against all forms of unjustified shipping charges.

This, they said, will go with the struggle to partner government to raise the level of exports and ensure Nigeria’s exports meet international standards and were patronized globally.

President of the association, Prince Mike Okorie, who disclosed these during a roundtable meeting at the Maritime Press Centre with members of the Association of Maritime Journalists Of Nigeria , AMJON, noted that only a united effort by freight forwarders and clearing agents can successfully stop the regime of exploitation of Nigerians through arbitrary levies by shipping companies and terminal operators.

He noted that whereas the port concession agreement between the federal government and the investors was supposed to address these issues as well as other bottlenecks associated with clearance of cargoes at the ports, the self-serving nature of those who crafted the concession agreement made it impossible to make the agreement document representative of the national interest. This is even as he lamented rejection of Nigerian exports overseas, due to alleged deliberate o delay in shipping of the items at the terminals by operators, who seek for ways to make additional monies.

FG targets N4.6bn revenue from maritime operations

His words, “We are worried at the level of rip off by players in the industry. The shipping companies and their sister terminal operators are adding to the high cost of port services through arbitrary charges, through delays and the government appears handicapped in calling them to order. That is why we have come out, and in coming out we will not waste time in meeting the big existing freight forwarders associations and clearing agents associations so that together, we can challenge these people.

“We also have members who engage in the exportation of foodstuff and if these commodities stay long before shipping commences, the items go bad and they are rejected in Europe and America. You will be surprised that the delays are deliberate, just to make more monies through various exploitative charges.

“We are not here to indict anybody but the truth is that government should encourage exportation.   It is the responsibility of the federal government to make all ports in Nigeria viable and competitive. We plan to bring everybody onboard so that we can partner with the federal government on ways to eliminate identified exploitative tendencies, reduce delays and make our ports efficient.”

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