Shippers’ Council recovers N80million excessive charges

A Nigerian port

The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has recovered about N80 million from the excessive charges imposed on importers by shipping companies between January and June this year.

The port economic regulator had in recent years engaged in serious confrontation with shipping firms and terminal operators over excessive and illegal charges to the tune of over N4 trillion. Some of the cases are still subject to litigation.

The Deputy Director, Compliance Monitoring, NSC, Cajethan Agu, who disclosed this during a lecture titled, “Nigerian Shippers’ Council as an Interventionist Agency’, at a one-day seminar for journalists in Lagos, said money which was recovered from demurrages, storage charges, excessive charges and other illegal collections had since been returned to their owners.

He said, “Between January and now, we’ve gotten up to N80 million. If you translate the $23,000 that COSCO shipping company Ltd. paid, it’s up to N10 million and don’t forget, we carried enforcement at GAC Shipping Nigeria Ltd., there was a refund because almost 30 containers which were held captive were released.

“Then there is even another one again with same COSCO, the demurrage waivers and other interventions.

“It’s only the Company CEO that will give you the breakdown but I know that between January and June, we got a refund amounting to more than N80 million.

“It is not only from demurrages, even storage charge and some were recovered from excessive charges that were imposed on the consignees.

“They were given back to the owners, although in the case of COSCO, they sent the cheque to us and we handed over to the owners.

“The meeting we do is normally tripartite meeting, when you complain, we look at your case, if it is genuine, then we invite you and we invite the person that you made the complaint against.”

He, however, advised the operators to always play by the rule adding that there were guidelines and regulations which he said were meant to be obeyed.

On what punishment awaits offenders for contravening guidelines and regulations, he said, ”You can be given a private warning, you can be given a public warning, your premises can be sealed, you can be deregistered or blacklisted and others.”

Amaka E. Nliam