MAJAN Roundtable Freight Forwarders Set For ‘War ‘ With Terminal Operators Over Astronomical Hike In Rent Charges
By Okezie Nnadi
Except urgent measures are taken to address recent hike in rent Charges, by terminal operators,the nation’s economy,may further suffer set back as the freight Forwarders have concluded plans to shut down the ports in Lagos by embarking on massive protests on Monday,23,October,2023.
National Coordinator,National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders( NAGAFF) 100% Compliance, Hon.Ibrahim Tanko, disclosed this at a MAJAN Roundtable,on Friday ,in Lagos , October,20 ,2023.
Hon Tanko who expressed great concern for the suffering masses of Nigeria said,” I am speaking as a Nigerian,as a freight Forwarder and as a freedom fighter.No Nigerian will be happy with this over night increment by the terminal operators.No single Nigerian will be happy with the way these terminal operators,woke up one morning,and increased rent Charges by 650 per cent without consultation with anyone.”
The NAGAFF 100% Compliance national Coordinator noted that while the terminal operators reserve the right to increase charges ,they should do so through the right procedures and not through the back door.
His words,”If you want to increase your charges,nobody is against that.But you must do it in the proper way.You must do extensive consultations.We have the Nigerian Shippers’ Council(NSC), Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria ( CRFFN),and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA),and the major associations.You should have met with all these bodies,and tell them why you want to increase charges.All of us will look into the matter ,and come up with an acceptable amount .But,they didn’t follow that process,rather ,they just woke up one morning and increased rent Charges to over 650 per cent”.
Continuing,he added that ,” Before now,we were paying N1,200.00 and from that amount to now overN96000.00 It is killing!.It is totally unacceptable to us” he said.
He warned that if nothing is done to this obnoxious increment ,there is possibility that the ports would be flooded with a lot of overtime containers
” Just few days ago,NPA was complaining about abandoned or overtime containers,They should be prepared to see more overtime containers” he warned.
He said the terminal operators are stifling trade and making life difficult for the average Nigerian,through their insensitive attitude .
He said the outrageous charges they incur in the hands of terminal operators are enormous.”For instance,if you spend only 10 days in the terminal,you are going to pay not less than N96,000.00 to N1 million.When you capture ,make declaration,you now go to bank to make payments.After that you come back again and book for examination.The examination you are booking,for example at APMT,will take you nothing less than 3-4 days for the container to be dropped either for scanning or physical examination.’
He said in addiction to the terminal operators charges ,the freight Forwarders also have issue with the Nigeria Customs service on benchmarking of duty ,which entails the payment of N7.5 million per container.
” After paying the N7.5million,you will still get another alert for other payments.In that alert,you can be told anything.The meaning is that after examination ,you need to still go back for one thing or the other: it may be amendment or matters of disclosurt.If care is not taken ,you may spend additional 3- 5 days on examination alone.” Hon.Tanko lamented.
He warned that the freight Forwarders would resort to the last option of total blockade of the Lagos ports by Monday , October 23,2023, if the terminal operators fail to reverse the increment.
His words,” This is the time for war.We will face anybody who supports the increment.We will see the person as a sell- out”.
He expressed disappointment with the former Acting President of Association Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents ( ANLCA),Dr Kayode Farinto for allegedly supporting the increment.He said,”
Dr Kayode Farinto is one person I have great respect for,but his input in this matter,I am highly disappointed with him. For him to come out openly and tell us that the terminal operators have right to increase charges to over 650 per cent without consultation,am not sure that Farinto is still in this industry.”
He accused the Nigerian Shippers’Council NSC of complicity in the increment,demanding that NSC should clearly state their position in this matter as the economic regulator of the ports.
“if the Nigerian Shippers’ Council is not aware of the increment they should come out and tell us.We want to know wether they are with us or not or are with the foreigners who want to kill us”he said.
On the issue of lifting of import restrictions on 43 items ,Hon.Tanko praised President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for the timely action .He said the president,” has clearly identified our problem,and noted that the impact of the policy would soon be seen in the economy.
Asked what implication this would have on export trade,Hon.Tanko retorted,”Sort out the issue of insecurity before talking of local production.Because of insecurity ,farmers don’t go to farm anymore.We need export to grow the economy,but the necessary environment must be created.”