Air freighters ground activities at airport over payment of storage charges.

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Air freighters ground activities at airport over payment of storage charges.

Segun Oladipupo

Freight Forwarders operating at the Lagos Airport on Tuesday protested the continued insistence of ground handling companies to impose accumulated storage charges and demurrage on cargoes that arrived the airport during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The withdrawal of service, our correspondent learnt, began on Monday when the agents refused to clear their cargoes owing to the same reason.

The Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) and Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO) had allegedly insisted on collecting accumulating storage charges and demurrage.

The duo were said to have later slashed the charges to 50 percent which the freight forwarders maintained that they were not ready to pay, saying the companies should take a cue from sea terminal operators who have started complying with the directive of NPA not to collect charges on cargoes that arrived the port during the Covid-19 lockdown period.

According to our source, it took the intervention of the Aviation Commissioner of Police to end the mild protest but unable to broker truce between the two parties.

It was learnt that despite the intervention of the police boss, truce was not brokered because the agents insisted that nothing should be collected as storage charges during the period.

Recall, that the Nigerian Ports Authority and the Nigerian Shippers’ Council have prevailed on terminal operators and shipping lines to grant waivers on  collection of  demurrage and storage charges.

In a chat with nigeriamaritime360 on Tuesday, Otunba Frank Ogunojemite, President of the African Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics in Nigeria (APFFLON), said that freight forwarders withdrew their services due to insistence by the service providers on collection of storage charges.

Ogunojemite said, “There was a protest because there was no work in airport yesterday (Monday) and today (Tuesday).

They proposed 50 percent but we couldn’t reach conclusion as at today (Tuesday).

“The commissioner of police, Aviation was around and tried to speak to people. So many people were aggrieved.

“As I am speaking to you, some of the terminals at the seaport have started complying, why should they not do same.

“ANLCA and NAGAFF members were parts of the protest,” he said.

When contacted, the Manager, Corporate Communications of SAHCO, Mrs Vanessa Are Uansohia, declined comment saying she could not make any comment yet.

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