By Eguono Odjegba
The All Ports Unified Freight Forwarding Practitioners Association, APUFFPA, has petitioned the Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC, over wrong transfer of containers of imported pharmaceuticals and inappropriate charges arising from own negligence and associated delays.
The letter addressed to the Executive Secretary of the Council dated October 8, 2019 and sighted by our reporter said the disputed transaction by Tin Can Island Container Terminal, TICT, was transferred to SCOA without the knowledge of the importer.
The petition further alleged that after the clearing agent concluded the documentation and applied for examination at SCOA, the Nigeria Customs Service command referred to the statute rule that pharmaceuticals and veterinary cargo can only be processed, examined and taken delivery of at the port of discharge from ship, and referred the 1x 40ft container with registration number PCIU 8503212 back to TICT; where the owners claimed the terminal operator and shipping company slammed various delay associated charges on them.
The letter titled TICT NEGLIGENCE AND ARBITRARINESS OF TRANSFER OD CONT. NO. PCIU 8503212: APPAEL FOR INTERVENTION TO BE ABSOLVED FROM DEMURRAGE RESPONSIBILITY reads in part:
“Here is to bring to your notice of yet another case of intransigence and high handedness of a terminal operator, TICT, towards a law abiding customer of theirs and member of our association. There is a standing Nigeria Customs Service rule that Pharmaceutical and Veterinary cargo must be processed, examined and taken delivery of at the port of discharge from ship, and not transferred elsewhere for clearance.
“The ship MV KOTA LAGU Rot. 2019/729 arrived at Tin Can on 18/06/19. TICT D/Note was paid 02/08/19 after which the agent booked for customs examination but container was not found. Without notice, the container was transferred to SCOA Kirikiri in total in total disregard of the statute rule for pharmaceutical cargo.
“After our member booked for examination of the container, at SCOA, the Customs Command referred to the standing circular and insisted examination be done at TICT. After several correspondences to relevant authorities the container was finally returned to TICT on 29/09/19.
In spite of the valid case of negligence by TICT and the obvious financial losses they have caused the consignee and freight forwarder, they arrogantly went ahead to demand that there must be demurrage payment, even though they caused the all the delay.
We therefore appeal to you to compel TICT to fully absolve the importer and the agent of all shipping company and TICT demurrage responsibilities, and to compensate the cargo owner and agent.”
Efforts to cross check with the management of TICT at their premises proved abortive following our reporter’s inability to gain access, despite stating reasons for his visit.