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FG To Stop N670m Container Deposit Fund 

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FG To Stop N670m Container Deposit Fund 

 

Abiola Seun

 

Importers operating in the nation’s seaports can now heave a sigh of relief as the federal government put plan in place to stop container deposit charges by shipping companies.

According to report, the Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC, and the National Insurance Company of Nigeria, NICON, have agreed  to curb the loss estimated to about N670 million suffered by shippers in the country.

The loss is suffered over failure to return empty containers within  the time specified by shipping lines.

It was gathered that importers pay minimum of N300,000 for a 40 foot container or  N150,000 for a 20 foot container as container deposit to shipping companies.

However, the shippers forfeit the deposit to the companies if the container is not returned to the shipping line within the grace period which is usually two to three weeks.

The Executive Secretary, NSC, Barr. Hassan Bello, explained that NICON and the Council  have been meeting to strategise on the best way to curb the huge revenue loss incurred by shippers via container deposits.

Bello explained that the plan is to make importers pay a token to insurance companies which will, in turn, ensure that the importers’ empty containers are returned to the shipping company.

According to him, “the committee, comprising officials of the NSC and NICON has completed work last week…I am studying the report before we present it to NICON.

“We spent N670 million two years back on container deposit, it is clumsy, we want to use the money for more productive courses. People should return containers as at when due, but to be honest, the contract is frustrated because there is no access for returning these containers and you are going to charge importers and their agents demurrage, which is not fair.

“We have looked at what is obtainable in other countries where you can have it like insurance and you have a lot of takers. It should be insured, instead of paying N300,000 as container deposit, you can pay an insurance company N20,000 and the company will make sure your container is returned by any means necessary.

“It is because of this hurry, rush to escape demurrage that you see a lot of trucks laden with empty containers that are meant for return. That regime of empty containers has to be addressed holistically,” he concluded.

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