APFFLON, CREFFPON also reject increment
By Kenneth Jukpor
Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has distanced itself from Ports and Terminal Multipurpose Limited (PTML) proposition to increase its terminal handling charges by 50 percent.
Despite some freight forwarding associations at the PTML, Tin Can Island Port Complex, Lagos, expressing support for the review of handling charges at the terminal, NSC says it hasn’t approved such increment.
Speaking with journalists on the development yesterday, the Executive Secretary of NSC, Mr. Hassan Bello said; “There hasn’t been any increase. It’s just a proposition. They can’t increase the charges without coming to Shippers’ Council.”
“We have had meetings with Grimaldi and PTML to discuss this. We aren’t averse to increment in charges because there hasn’t been any increment in the last decade. No one can approve an increase in charges in the port system without Shippers’ Council and if that is done, then it’s an effort in futility.”
Although the NSC boss commended PTML for its high performance in automation and efficient service delivery, he stated that NSC isn’t fully convinced that PTML’s services deserve an upward review of handling charges.
His words: “We need to be fully convinced that these increments or reviews are tied to service. We have to be concerned about that. The ultimate thing is efficiency and shippers wouldn’t mind an increase if they can get their cargoes within a short time and at a reasonable cost. We would like to see PTML and other terminals fully automated in a way that people can clear goods without going to the ports.”
However, the African Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics in Nigeria (APFFLON) and the the Congregation of Freight Forwarding Practitioners of Nigeria (CREFFPON) have rejected the increment proposed by PTML.
While CREFFPON faulted the approach adopted by the management of PTML for an upward review of its handling charges describing it as bait for other terminal operators to follow shortly, APFFLON argued that the terminal hasn’t done anything exceptional in terms of service delivery to warrant 50 percent increment.
According to the President of APFFLON, Mr. Frank Ogunojemite, the move by PTML to rally support from some freight forwarding groups is a ploy to make NSC approve the increment on the basis that freight forwarders also accepted it.
Ogunojemite argued that an all-encompassing stakeholders summit should have been organized by PTML to get the views of other operators instead of just three groups who adopted the increment.
“The reason we are kicking against this is that if we keep quiet it may be interpreted to mean that everyone is onboard with the increment. What has PTML done to deserve an increment? What is their response to government policies and directives especially the Federal Government directive to give freight agents waivers during the COVID-19 lockdown period? NSC shouldn’t be deceived because APFFLON and several other associations and freight forwarding practitioners can’t find a justification for any increment, let alone 50 percent increase,” he said.
CREFFPON has also faulted the approach adopted by the management of PTML for an upward review of its handling charges describing it as bait for other terminal operators to follow shortly.
The group, in a statement by its Administrator, Mr. Edwin Chukwudire Obi, at the weekend, reminded the management of PTML of the existence of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) and the NSC enabling legislative instruments adding that such intention and decision called for meticulousness.
It equally reminded the chapter leadership that those terminal operators supposedly foreign investors were in a league (association) in Nigeria to promote their profit interests over and above industry interest, adding that it has never been the duty or the tradition for the freight forwarding leaders to negotiate the increase in port charges without recourse to due process.
CREFFPON argued that if such meeting was aimed to galvanized tactical supports prior to the revisit or intervention of the economic regulator on the proposed increments, which procedurally should be accompanied by a notice, then it was needless making the outcome of the meeting public as it would amount to pre-empting a decision.