Maritime This Week: Recap of News, Events

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Maritime This Week: Recap of News, Events

 

 

MONDAY APRIL 20, 2020

Abiodun OBA

 

Editorial: Demurrage Waivers: Between COVID-19 Palliatives and Business Interests

At the height of the rampaging Coronavirus pandemic in March, 2020, the Nigerian ports Authority (NPA) directed terminal operators to give demurrage waivers to importers as a form of palliative to ease the pains of goods clearance at the ports occasioned by the scourge.

In two separate requests, the NPA sought for a combined 35 days of free rent for importers.

The first waivers of 21days took effect from March 23rd and extended for another 14 days, making a total of 35 days.

The gesture of the government agency is laudable and understandable.

It was meant to give relief to importers and their agents in the face of obvious difficulties they were facing to clear their consignments due to the lockdown engendered by the pandemic.

But despite the NPA assurances that it will compensate the obvious revenue loss by the terminal operators as it considers “a shift in our operational charges to ameliorate the situation”, the terminal operators seemed not to be impressed.

As at the time of this report, only one terminal operator, an indigenous operator at the Tin Can Island Ports, has taken steps to comply with the directive.

 

NSC posts staff to Terminals for safety and health regulations compliance

The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), has assigned its officers to various shipping companies and terminals towards ensuring strict compliance with all safety and health regulations issued by the authorities during the covid-19 pandemic period.

The management of the Council made this disclosure in a statement made available to nigeriamaritime360.com on Sunday.

NSC reiterated the need for all port users, particularly freight forwarders, to conduct themselves responsibly and adhere to health guidelines as they go about their very essential business.

 

Buhari’s order: Customs clears air on alleged attempt to ‘smuggle’ vegetable oil

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Apapa Command, has made a clarification on an alleged attempt to ‘smuggle’ from the Apapa Port, vegetable oil loaded in three trucks.

Mrs Nkeiruka Nwala, Deputy Superintendent of Customs and Public Relations Officer of the command, said that the vegetable oil was directed by the presidency to be released as palliatives due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

She made the clarification in an interview in Lagos on Sunday.

She said that customs found it strange for the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to detain the trucks, asking for documentation which, she noted, was not part of its duties

 

TUESDAY APRIL 21, 2020

Pirates stranded onboard Container Ship in Gulf of Guinea

Pirates who boarded the Portugal-flagged container ship Tommi Ritscher from a speed boat were left stranded onboard as the boat left the scene when a naval vessel approached.

Dryad Global a security company received a report that the 4,785-TEU vessel has been boarded by pirates at the Cotonou Anchorage, Benin, in the Gulf of Guinea.

Some of the crew are believed to be in the citadel, but Dryad Global indicates that eight may be held by the pirates. Two naval vessels are believed to be at the scene and assistance had been sought from Nigeria who are understood to have dispatched a patrol boat.

This the second incident in the area this year and the fifth in the last 12 months.

Covid-19: Dana Air assures guests of health and well-being security, hints on Safety Flight procedures

In a bid towards maintaining social distancing guideline in its operations as regards, Dana Air has pledged to give its guests some sense of security about their health and well-being when flying in the face of Covid-19 pandemic.

The organisation in a statement on Monday, announced that it will keep the middle seats on all its aircraft empty once it resumes flight operations.

The Accountable Manager, Dana Air, Mr. Obi Mbanuzuo, in the statement noted that Dana Air will commence this initiative when flights resume. He buttressed that the company will maintain such initiative for a while and listen to the feedback from the airline’s customers.

 

WEDNESDAY APRIL 22, 2020

Covid-19: Shippers’ Council Directs Haulage Operators to Reduce Freight Rate at Seaports 

The Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), yesterday directed haulage operators to reduce the freight rates to decongest the nation’s seaports amid Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking in a meeting with truck owners under the aegis of Council of Maritime Truck Union and Association (COMTUA), the executive secretary of the council, Barr. Hassan Bello said the truck owners must sacrifice and contribute to the sustainability of the nation’s economy during the crisis.

According to him, the nation doesn’t need astronomical or unrealistic freight rate as the ports need to be decongested to forestall congestion of the seaports.

 

Covid-19: Customs CG Approves Food Items worth N3.2bn as Palliatives

The Comptroller-General, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), has approved different food items worth N3.2 billion as palliatives to cushion the effects of Covid-19 pandemic in Nigeria.

The approval was contained in a statement issued on Tuesday in Abuja by the NCS Public Relations Officer, Mr. Joseph Attah.

He said that the relief items are to assist the Federal Government continuous efforts to alleviate pains associated with ongoing lockdown in some parts of the country as a result of the spread of Covid-19 pandemic.

 

THURSDAY APRIL 23, 2020

NAFFAC Rejects NAGAFF’s N50,000 Palliative  

Barely 24 hours after the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) rejected the offer of palliative from the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), the National Association of Freight Forwarders and Air Consolidators (NAFFAC) has also asked it to direct its palliative offer to the right people.

Recall that NAGAFF had offered the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) a sum of N100 thousand naira, while other four associations including National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs (NCMDLCA), Association of Registered Freight Forwarders in Nigeria (AREFFN) and NAFFAC were give N50 thousand each.

Reacting to the development, the President General of NAFFAC, Prince Bakare Adeyinka said that NAGAFF should have targeted the people who really needed such fund, most especially the less privileged in the society who needs such palliative during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the world.

 

Truck owners slash cost of carriage of goods by 30 percent – NSC

As part of measures to cushion the effect of lockdown on port workers and Nigerians in general, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council appealed to truck owners to review the cost of carriage of goods in the port.

According to a statement made available to our correspondent by the Deputy Director, Public Relations of the council, Rakiya Zubairu, the truckers agreed to review the cost down by 30 percent.

The management of Nigerian Shippers’ Council also charged the truckers on the need to adhere to health and safety guidelines during this period of COVID-19 pandemic.

FRIDAY APRIL 24, 2020

Hadiza Bala-Usman commissions two multimillion-dollar Cranes – As APM Terminals Apapa ploughs $80m into upgrade of facilities

The Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala-Usman, on Thursday commissioned two new multimillion dollars state-of-the-art Mobile Harbor Cranes (MHCs) acquired by a leading global terminal operator, APM Terminals, to boost service delivery at the Apapa Port, Lagos.

The new cranes were acquired as part of APM Terminals’ additional investment of USD80 million (N33.6billion) for the year 2020-2021, bringing the total investment by the company in Apapa since 2006 to USD438million (about N184billion), which is the highest by any private terminal operator in Nigeria.

APM Terminals, located in the nation’s premier seaport at the heart of Nigeria’s commercial hub, Lagos, is the biggest container terminal in West Africa and the best-equipped in Nigeria.

 

Covid-19:  Shippers call for 35 per cent reduction in shipping charges

Shippers Association  Lagos State, has called for 35 percent reduction in shipping charges owing to life threatening situation under which its members are working in the country.

This call is coming barely 24 hours after the Nigerian Shippers Council obtained commitment from truck owners to slash their charges by 30 percent.

SALS also appealed to commercial banks operating in Apapa to open at least twice a week while the lockdown lasts, to help clear the backlog of shipping documents pending with shippers and their agents.

Reverend Jonathan Nicol made the call on Thursday in Lagos in a release made available to our correspondent.

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