Segun Oladipupo |
Customs licensed agents,numbering about 40 yesterday protested what they regarded as unjust and unwarranted demmurage charges at the Hannover private bonded terminal in Tincan Island Port.
The agents said that the handling equipment which became faulty since Monday led to their inability to move their containers from the terminal.
But despite this, they claimed the terminal operators still charge them on the number of days the handling equipment became faulty.
Speaking with journalists on Thursday over the development, Emmanuel Onyeka, Public Relations Officer of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Tincan chapter, said the affected agents were not ready to pay any demurrage accruable from the delay caused by the terminal.
“The issue is not the demurrage here but the number of days we are spending, they have accumulated demurrage for us in shipping companies even though they waived their own.
“Our concern is that they don’t have equipment, that is the challenge we are facing and if you go round the terminal, you will see that it does not meet up with ISPS Code.
“Now that they see you around, they now pretend as if the machine is working, the machine has not been working since Friday around 6pm until this very day”
Onyeka observed that in his own cas he had a Terminal Delivery Order (TDO) which is supposed to come in but due to the situation on ground, the TDO could not come in while demurrage is accumulating at the shipping agency.
“I am paying around N9,240 to TICT per day for the second period and we have not entered the third period, if we enter third period, it is N12,000plus.
“Most people are already within that period while others have 14 days,” he said.
Also speaking during the protest, Christian Ekamaka of Divine Success told reporters that he had done all necessary documentation but could not move his consignment due to the faulty handling equipment in the terminal.
He therefore insisted that he would not pay the demurrage accrued during the period the machine broke down because it was not his fault but that of the terminal.
“I have been here since last week trying to load but I could not even though I have done all necessary documentation.
“The truck I brought here to load my container collected N95,000 because they said the terminal was not good.
“At the end of the day, since that Friday up till now, I have not loaded and now they are pressing for demurrage. How can I pay demurrage when it was not my fault but that of Hannover
“I am facing a big problem with my importer now and only God can help me to retain the importer with what is happening now.
“I went to first gate to look for truck, on hearing Hannover, they said they would not go except I pay N300,000.
“How can I pay N300,000, how much did I charge the work and which importer will give me such amount to move cargo from Hannover to Port and Cargo? It is not possible”
“Ordinarily, I am supposed to pay N70,000 to move the cargo within the port.
The Terminal Manager of Hannover, Mr. Ken Amos admitted that the machine was faulty for four days but added that the management was making efforts to fix it.
He added that when all efforts to fix the equipment failed, the terminal had to go and rent another handling equipment to facilitate the job.
But he failed to justify why agents have to pay for demmurage they dis not cause.
“We had a faulty plant and we are making effort to see that we put it in order.
“The people worked on Saturday, Sunday and Monday but it was yesterday (Wednesday) that they finished up the work but they later discovered that it was still overheating and I called my MD who said I should go out and rent another machine to assist this one which I did.
“Out of the days that our machine was faulty, our oga (boss) waived two days for them because some of them entered before then but could not go out”
Asked if it is justifiable to waive only two days for the agents out of the four days that the machine broke down, Amos said it was order from above.
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