The Nigeria Shippers Council (NSC) has threatened to seal up non compliance off-dock terminals over defiance to refund storage charges to shippers as well as lack of adequate handling equipment among others.
Speaking during a tour of some bonded terminals in Lagos, the Executive Secretary of NSC, Barrister Hassan Bello, stated that the council insisted that it is the responsibility of terminal operators who stemmed cargoes to bonded terminal to pay and not shippers while insisting that money collected from shippers be refunded back to them.
Speaking specifically at Denca bonded terminal, Bello informed that the terminal is owing up to about N42 million terminal charges that is yet to be refunded to the shippers.
While stating that failure of the terminal to adhere to the memo issued by the council, will likely lead to seizure of the terminal license.
Bello, who also lamented the poor state and location of some of the bonded terminals, urged the Nigeria Customs Service (NSC) to always carry the council along before issuing license to the bonded terminals.
He informed that the council will begin to post its staff to the bonded terminals to monitor and enforce efficiency at the terminals.
According to him “Am particularly not happy with the arrangement that is going on between the seaport terminals and bonded terminals, each one trying to pass the bulk on transfer and storage charges, and what we are saying is that our circular which we issued in July will have to suffice for this exercise, no storage charges no transfer charges if goods are stemmed from the seaport terminal, those who stemmed the goods are responsible for whatever cost and not the shippers
“He has already nominated in his bill of laden or contract of affreightment where his cargo should go, and to transfer that cargo to another terminal, it has to be the business of the first terminal he has nominated.
“It cannot be otherwise, so going through the issues tomorrow meeting will be instructive because NSC believes in consultation and negotiations, but if for any other reason we found out that the seaport terminal or the bonded terminal is charging these fees which we have abolished, then NSC will be left with no options than to take very strict measures and that measure will include sealing of
“Also some of these bonded terminals are not properly situated because there are no access to the terminal and you see the whole place not looking nice, so it is also our duty to work with Nigeria Customs that licensed them to ensure that whenever a bonded terminal is to be licensed, it’s geographical location suitability must be taken into consideration
Commenting on the deplorable states of the Denca bonded terminal , the NSC boss said
“I have talked with the officials here that for them to operate we will write our report on some of these issues and we will make sure that the existence of a bonded terminal depends on the standard that is maintained internationally, if not we will recommend that the terminal license be seized.
“We have about N40 million of shippers charges that has not been refunded.
Speaking earlier, the Managing Director of the Denca bonded terminal, Mr. Tony Asiadiachi stated that it was the seaport terminal that instructed them to collects the fee from the shippers, stating that some of the consignment carries storage which they pay before carrying it, which is later now transferred to the owners of the cargoes.
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