Freight forwarders under the aegis of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (100 per cent Compliance Team) have threatened to withdraw their services over an alleged multitude of extortion by shipping lines in Nigeria.

The freight forwarders claimed they lose about N50 million every day as a result of extortion.

National Coordinator of NAGAFF 100 per cent Compliance Team, Ibrahim Tanko, in a notification on withdrawal of services, addressed to managing directors of all shipping companies operating in Nigeria, said shipping lines are not interested in the welfare of freight forwarders or Nigerians.

He alleged that the shipping companies have been using dubious means to extort freight forwarders. These include the transfer of containers against freight forwarders’ wish, consent, or approval of consignee; depletion of container deposit refunds; detention invoice; undue debiting of their clients; unnecessary extortion of importers of up to N150,000 before dropping empty containers; and causing disputes between freight forwarders and their transporters/clients.

Tanko said shipping companies use their negligence or lack of capacity to foist on freight forwarders undue equipment detention charges ranging from N200,000 per 1×40ft and N100,000 ×1×20ft multiplied by over 1,000 containers per day.

Tanko demanded that shipping companies pay transporters compensation for using their trucks as holding bay for days and weeks. He said the NAGAFF compliance team would no longer be induced or coerced into arresting its transporters over misunderstandings bordering on missing containers.

Tanko warned that if the above issues are not addressed between October 25 and November 11, 2021, freight forwarders would be forced to withdraw their services.

Meanwhile, ahead of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Council Election to be held in December, the Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, has called on the international maritime community to support Nigeria’s bid for reinstatement into Category C.

Speaking at the third Seminar of the Atlantic Centre in Lisbon Portugal, on Tuesday, Jamoh urged Nigeria’s friends to vote for the country.

He said: “We ask for your vote and count on your continued confidence in the efforts of Nigeria to work in partnership with other nation-states in the Gulf of Guinea, to continue keeping our corridor of the Atlantic Ocean a safe passage for seafarers, their vessels and the vital supplies they transport for our common sustenance.”

The DG also requested the removal of Nigeria by the global shipping community from designation as a war risk zone. He said this causes increased insurance premiums, even as he explained recent efforts by the Federal Government to make the country’s waters safer for crew members, vessels and cargoes.

Source: The Guardian.

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