Segun Oladipupo |
Freight forwarders in Apapa ports have threatened a showdown with Ocean Network Express and other foreign shipping lines for their arbitrary charges and unprofessional conducts in carrying out their activities in Nigeria.
The freight forwarders also sought the intervention of government authorities to help stem the tide of charges imposed on importers and their agents, saying it could lead to crippling of business in the subsector.
The Chairman, Apapa chapter of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Ndubuisi Uzoegbo, said that freight forwarders would demarket some of the shipping lines so much that they will lose the patronage of their customers.
He explained that some of the shipping lines do not have conflict resolution desk in Nigeria but would always contact their head offices abroad before resolving minor issues which according to him, makes clearing process cumbersome and harrowing.
He lamented that some of the storage charges and rents are being manipulated by the multinationals, adding that the foreign liners lack business and human relations with Nigerian shippers .
Uzoigbo stressed the urgent intervention from the Federal government to engage the liners in resolving pricing and arbitrary charges, adding that the Nigerian Shippers Council and the Council for the Regulations of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) have failed in their duties in facilitating seamless clearing process.
According to him, the shipping lines have monopolised shipping activities in Nigeria without any form of intervention from government.
He averred that efforts are ongoing to embark on a peaceful demonstration over the alleged arbitrary charges by the multinationals in a bid to draw the attention of the government to their plights
He lamented that as a result of the high handedness of the shipping lines, most freight forwarders have fizzled out of business.
The NAGAFF boss posited that Nigeria is not a dumping ground for empty containers hence, the need for the shipping lines to evacuate empty containers in the country and not allow them to litter the roads.
His words, “Nigeria is not a dumping ground for expired containers.
“Shipping companies are ripping Nigerians off their hard earn monies and the funny thing about the arbitrary charges is that it will increase the cost of buying and selling in our markets and the cost and standard of living in the country will be very expensive.
“The shipping lines have made things worst for us all and I think the best way out is to take the bull by the horns since we don’t have anybody to fight for us. The industry is shrinking because we are voiceless and nobody cares about us,” he lamented.
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