By Godwin Oritse
The Federal Government through the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Presidential Enabling Business Environment Committee, PEBEC, and the foreign shipping lines operating in Nigeria have now increased the free storage days for imported cargoes to 12 days from 5 days.
The development was the outcome of long-drawn battle to get palliatives for importers over huge demurrage resulting from port congestion.
Disclosing this to Vanguard Maritime Report in Lagos, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, NSC, Mr Hassan Bello, said the Council, along with PEBEC, have concluded plans to meet again over the issue to fine tune the modalities for the implementation.
Recall that PEBEC and foreign shipping firms operating in Nigeria, last week met to negotiate demurrage on cargoes occasioned by the Apapa traffic gridlock.
Similarly, Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on the Restoration of Law and Order on the Apapa Port Access, Kayode Opeifa, said that the government is aware of that increases in the demurrage arising from the long stay of goods in the ports was not the fault of the importers.
The long stay of these goods was also occasioned by the traffic gridlock partly due to the bad port access roads.
Opeifa also said that the meeting is a work-in-progress project adding that nobody other than the Vice President, Dr Yemi Osibajo, can comment on the matter.
He stated: “What I can tell is that the shipping companies met with members of PEBEC at the office of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council to negotiate demurrage on cargoes. It is a work-in-progress meeting.”
Bello said he could not talk much on the matter adding that PEBEC met again with the representatives of the shipping companies last week and held discussion with them on the issue.