From Anthony Nwachukwu, Lagos
Plans by CMA CGM shipping to impose $400 surcharge on every cargo landing at Lagos ports may have run into major hitch as the concerned regulators of port activities in the country, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) and Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), have opposed the move.
Declaring the said “congestion surcharge” illegal, null and void, NSC Executive Secretary, Mr. Hassan Bello, insisted that any such intention or actual collection would remain illegal until the company clears it with the agency and obtains approval.
Similarly, the NPA threatened to sanction CMA CGM and any other firm that might collect such surcharge from shippers. Ag General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, Mr. Isa Suwaid, said the agency would not accept such surcharge as the CMA CGM and some others have not complied with its directive on provision of holding bays for containers.
According to Suwaid, the failure of some shipping lines to provide holding bays caused the congestion, and the agency would review and sanction non-compliance by shipping companies or terminal operators.
Meanwhile, in response to the call by the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) for the boycott of its services, CMA CGM says the charge does not apply to shipments with pre-carriage contract, even as the shippers, rather than the clearing agents, have liberty to accept the payable freight at the point of origin.
“We wish to inform the association that the charge in question is a prepaid charge which is paid at the port of loading (origin) by the shipper. It is an operation-based charge not imposed by CMA CGM Nigeria as a local agent but by the ship owners,” the letter to by its Managing Director, Mr. Todd Rives, explained to ANLCA.