FG to end shippers’ N1.7bn annual container deposits losses

From Anthony Nwachukwu, Lagos

Following Nigerian shippers’ inability to recover their huge container deposits, put at a yearly N1.7 billion, due to challenges emanating from the ports and the bad access roads, the Federal Government is set to substitute container deposit with insurance by the first quarter of next year.

Disclosing this to newsmen in Lagos Tuesday after a meeting of heads of maritime agencies, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Mr. Hassan Bello, said the agency was partnering with the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) on the insurance payable by the shippers for the empty containers.

According to him, “it is not the fault of shippers that they can’t return the containers within the specified time because the holding bays aren’t working.

“Shippers pay N120,000 for container deposit – about N1.7 billion every year. This is adding to the cost of doing business. The roads are blocked, the holding bays are not working, so why should the shipper bear that risk?

Therefore, “we want to have an indemnity system and have already talked with NAICOM. There must be insurance penetration, as we could extend the marine insurance to cover containers. By the first quarter of next year, there will not be payment of container deposit.”

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