Worried by the adverse economic effects of the endless regime of surcharges on Nigeria-bound cargo by international shipowners, the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) says it will be hosting an international forum comprising Global Shippers Forum (GSF) and six African countries to tackle the issue.
NSC Executive Secretary, Mr. Hassan Bello, noted that while the surcharges are allowed when necessary, in the Nigerian case shipowners neither inform the country ahead, as required, nor drop the fees when the necessitating conditions cease, thereby unnecessarily spiking the cost of doing business in the country.
Therefore, it is necessary for the GSF members and other African countries, who belong to the African Shippers Council (ASF) and GSF, to discuss the extra costs being imposed on shippers, including the various surcharges and their negative impacts on Nigerian shippers.
Bello noted that most of the surcharges are built into the freight costs in Nigeria from shipping firms’ parent companies who are members of different liner conferences of ship owners, and they often ignore to suspend the surcharges even when the situations that justified their imposition change.
According to NSC Director of Special Duties, Idris Tahir, it seems the surcharges are being permanently placed as they are mostly built into the freight cost from parent companies, in addition to the freight rate prevailing in Nigerian seaports.
“There are about eight or more surcharges imposed on Nigerian ports. The UNCTAD provisions (Article 16) stipulates that surcharges imposed on cargo moving to and from a particular port shall be regarded as temporary and likewise shall be increased, reduced or cancelled subject to when the situation in the port changes.”
However, “we hardly witness total suspension of these surcharges intended to be temporary and designed to bring equity in the recovery of some unexpected cost increases or losses.”