The lingering crisis between the associations of clearing agents in the port and some shipping lines may well continues as the shipping lines did not come to the negotiating table to try to reach a compromise yesterday
Speaking to MMS Plus Weekly, after the boycotted meeting, the chairman of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarder(NAGAFF) Apapa chapter, Chief Fred Ajuzie speaking on behalf of the chairman of association of Nigeria Licensed Custom Agents (ANLCA) and National Council of Managing Director of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA) said that the meeting could not hold because the shipping lines involved did not honour the invitation but rather sent someone to come and tell them after waiting for about two hours that the meeting should be rescheduled may be tomorrow.
According to him “The meeting could not hold because the people that called us to the meeting did not show up but only sent their representative reschedule the meeting for next time maybe tomorrow, after that we will have a full meeting and we can now brief you”
Yesterday protesting freight forwarder closed down all commercial activities at the APM terminal at Apapa port.
Corroborating this, Chief Ajuzie said that associations “have already withdrawn our services from APM terminal.” When asked why this have to do this he said” they collect dues from work not rendered, so we want them to reverse this and give us value for our money.”
The members of the freight forwarders are furious too, they believed they are not getting what they should get and are taxed unnecessary.
One of them Abidemi Aberejo, the chairman of tax force coordinators of ANLCA said that they withdrew their services from APMT because of their high-handedness and unwarranted charges.
He also said that they were not ready to back down until their grievances are met.
“Without meeting our demands this action will continue indefinitely, he surmised.
Also speaking about the bad treatment was Mr Emeka Utor the deputy chairman of task force coordinator ANLCA who said that APMT is frustrating the activities of the Agents in the terminal by collecting unnecessary fees and deliberately delaying cargoes at the port to collect demurrage.
According to him “if agents paid for 10 containers to be positioned for examination, they should be able to drop that 10 containers, you don’t just take 2 out of 10 and drop, when you know full well that customs will not release the consignment based on 100% examination.”
Mr Emeka said that they have consulted Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), and even Nigeria shippers’ council (NSC) to know what the problems are, but nothing came out of it.
He lamented that most of them have lost their customers as they are not able to cope with all the charges leveled for them to pay.
He stated further that some of the operators of APMT had to boldly tell them that they are not afraid of what anybody can do because they had big powerful Nigerians backing them. And since APM is operating in South Africa and Seme very well, why can’t it operate like that in Nigeria, he queried?