By Godfrey Bivbere
THE Nigerian Shippers’ Council, NSC, has concluded plans to challenge the war risk premium slammed on Nigerian shippers by international shipping companies.
The Executive Secretary of the NSC, Hassan Bello, who disclosed this in an exclusive interview with Vanguard Maritime Report also said that the high cost of transporting raw materials and other items for production is usually added to the overall cost that is passed on to the consumers.
Bello stated: “In August we are calling all African countries to a meeting including global shippers’ forum to look at the global issue on the cost of shipping. If you look at the cost of global shipping or the cost of transportation in Nigeria, it is hovering between 30 to 40 per cent of the cost of goods, and then if it is seven per cent in Europe but here we are talking about 30 per cent, something is wrong.
“We have to, therefore, cut reasonably the cost of transportation. Most of the inflation that we have is because of the cost of transportation. To reduce the cost of transportation means we have to bring out vibrant processes, transparent processes of clearing goods, infrastructure and then change of attitude of people involved in the process.
“If you see the task force team (on Apapa traffic), for example, despite what newspapers say, you will see that they are making progress. We have now removed the extortion; nobody is being extorted anymore; the drivers say it, and the truck drivers say it.
“Now there is a free flow of goods from the port and then there is the manual call-up designed by the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, and it is working before we go to electronic.”
Speaking on the issue of war risk premium, Bello said, “When we have this global shippers’ forum in August, we are going to question so many things, like the cost of transportation of goods by the international carriers, the so-called surcharges, war risk clause premium which we do not know how it is determined, we do not know what the premium is and who determines them.
“We want to put legislation in place to protect Nigerian shippers, to protect Nigerian interest,” he noted.