By Kenneth Jukpor
Freight forwarders have demanded an apology from the new Country Manager of AP Moller Terminal (APMT) Mr. Klaus Laursen after the APMT boss indicted the practitioners for the congestion at the port terminal.
Former President of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) Chief Eugene Nweke revealed this in a letter titled, “Re: Freight Forwarders Are Responsible For Port Congestion – An Open Request To Tender An Unreserved Apology To Nigerian Freight Forwarders”
Nweke who is currently the Head of NAGAFF’s Research and Policy Group, expressed dismay at the utterances of the Country Manager admonishing him to rather find solutions to the challenges confronting the terminal.
“APMT decided to cast every sense of professional conduct overboard and went ahead to insult the sensibilities of Freight Forwarders. The Country Manager of the A.P. Moller Terminals, Nigeria perhaps spoke the minds of his cohorts who take pleasure in bedeviling the Freight Forwarders with concocted allegations which in every sense remain a cheap way to transferring their managerial ineptitude and operational inadequacy to Maritime Practitioners so as to divert the attention of concerned authorities to least important issues in the face of a threatening economic recession occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic”, the Letter read.
According to Nweke, in the maritime industry blame games have been a prevalent tradition especially in post- ports concession era, synonymous with the administrative style of APMT as well as their watchword.
The maritime veteran admonished the company to try hard to correct the bad impression it has left in the industry, alleging that freight forwarders have been tolerating the company’s operational inefficiency and managerial ineptitude since 2006.
He stated that freight forwarders have been contending with exploitative charges as part of their support to the Federal Government’s quest to encourage and promote a thriving environment for sustainable Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), targeted at making the country a haven for foreign investors.
Nweke maintained that the actions of APMT have frustrated the government’s objective for the concession of the ports for over 10 years, lamenting that up till date the company has resolved to remain a stickler to the first generation port operational system with a desperate intension to curry political patronage in exchange of crippling the system.
The Country Manager of A.P. Moller Terminals, Laursen, had in a statement during a visit to Nigerian Shippers’ council headquarters, accused freight forwarders of causing congestion at the terminal by not coming forward to clear their containers, a statement that Chief Nweke has dismissed as “a deliberate self- defense statement for refusing to acknowledge his responsibilities as well as to exonerate himself and APMT from wrong doing before the world.”
He reminded the Country Manager that Shippers’ Council sought the intervention of the court of competent jurisdiction to compel the APMT and other operators to adhere to industry pricing system which was targeted at abolishing charges above industry average.
Nweke and freight forwarders under NAGAFF have issued Mr. Klaus Laursen seven days ultimatum to tender an unreserved official apology or they reconsider a long standing cordial business relationship with the company, and a monthly industrial appraisal report of the company’s activities to international community especially, the global regulatory bodies.