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NAGAFF expresses skepticism on ability of CRFFN, Shippers’Council to resolve shipping companies, freight forwarders face off


Segun Oladipupo

The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) said it was  skeptical about the ability of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) and Nigerian Shippers’ Council to resolve the lingering dispute between freight forwarders and shipping companies over container deposit refunds, illegal extortions, among other issues.

As a result, the group said its threat of withdrawal of service holds in case the duo are unable to find a solution to the impasse.

NAGAFF said one of its demands is for shipping companies to grant 14 days waiver to freight agents, starting from the date of exit of container from the ports.

However Friday’s Executive meeting had in attendance the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Council for the Regulating of Freight Forwarders in Nigeria (CRFFN) and representative of shipping companies but no meaningful resolution was reached by the parties.

Addressing journalists shortly after a close door meeting, National Coordinator of the NAGAFF 100% Compliance Team, Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko pointed out that they still had confidence in the three regulators present; Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Shippers Council and the CRFFN because they must have a solution to this problem, as they represent the government.

He disclosed that the body language of the representatives of the shipping company was not too good and showed no commitment.

He said that the representatives of the shipping companies agreed to waive six days but the problem was that they should be specific on when they want to start counting the waivers.

“The issue of withdrawal of service is still pending because there is no concrete agreement reached and our position still stands, we will withdraw our services on November 18th, if nothing is done.”

“On the container deposit issue, we lose a lot of money, N200,000 on 40ft container and N100,000 on 20ft container, and after losing this money, the shipping companies also debit us and they still receive their empty containers back.”

“We are saying no to this. Our request is that the shipping companies should give us extra 14 days from the day the container leaves the port till it is brought back, if we pass 14 days, then they can now charge us. This is our proposal and they said no to that,” Tanko said.

Tanko said that he was shocked when the NPA representative said  that the authority issued shipping companies license for holding bay.

“We believe holding bay is supposed to come from shipping companies and that is what the law says, anybody that is running a shipping company must have a holding bay, but we do not know what is going on now. Our position now is that the issue is not from freight forwarders and so they should stop collecting this money from us,” he said.

Tanko noted that the five accredited associations in the industry had agreed to work together to achieve desired result.

He lamented that despite the struggle for the port industry to thrive, there have been series of death threat messages and phone calls over the struggle.

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