By Godfrey Bivbere
NIGERIAN freight forwarders operating at the Lagos Port have petitioned the Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC, and the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, NAGAFF, over the activities of a Japanese shipping company, Ocean Network Express, ONE, accusing the company of inhuman treatments.
The freight forwarders, in the petition, said they have directed their trade partners from Japan, Singapore, China and other countries, as well as importers in Nigeria to desist from using services of the shipping company for shipments.
It was gathered that the freight forwarders’ action was as a result of the shipping company’s refusal to release multi-billion naira shipments of an importer in Nigeria for failure to pay N557,000 demurrage charges on a container used for the previous shipment, whose return to the shipping line was delayed for 38 days.
The container was said to have been detained by the Police after the truck conveying it was involved in a ghastly accident.
At the return of the container, it was gathered that ONE Shipping Line had gone ahead to slam the whopping demurrage charge on the freight forwarder despite evidence of the accident which was made available to the shipping line and pleas to jettison charges incurred due to the accident, which affected many persons.
The shipping company was said to have been briefed about the accident and carried along with the development and it assured the freight forwarders of its understanding.
Chairman of Apapa port chapter of NAGAFF, Ndubuisi Uzoegbo, who confirmed the development, said freight forwarders were pained by the company’s attitude to customer care.
He expressed support for the call for Nigerian importers and their trade partners from Asia and across the globe to stop using services of the shipping line to bring goods to Nigeria.
Efforts to speak with the shipping company whose office is located on Warehouse Road, Apapa, was unsuccessful as our reporter was refused entrance.
The petition reads in part: “We wish to express our regret over the inhuman action and decision making of the management of Ocean Network Express Shipping company.
We took delivery of this above-mentioned shipping company container on June 18, 2019. Unfortunately, the truck conveying the container to our warehouse had a fatal accident and crashed into a commuter bus injuring the passengers sitting at the rear of the bus. The truck, truck owner and the driver were detained by the Nigeria Police.
“After much trouble with the settlement of the damages and issues rising, the container was returned on July 26, 2019. During these times, we came to report the accident to One Shipping Company with pictures of the accident and the Police report. We were told to do our best to resolve the issues and try everything possible to return the empty box, after which they assured we could come back to discuss with them on the outstanding invoice that may have accumulated.
“Now, we went to the shipping company to release another shipment and we were told we have an outstanding invoice of about N557,077.50 caused by those delays in returning the container that was involved in the accident.
“We appeal that you look into this matter and take drastic action immediately against this act by this shipping company. We have attached copies of the accident photos, the police reports and the questionable outstanding invoices.” Freight forwarders pleaded.