The National President of the Association of Registered Freight Forwarders of Nigeria (AREFFN) Mr. Frank Ukor has said that many concessionaires now depend on the money accrued from demurrages to pay staff salaries.
According to him “Once they (concessionaires) position a particular number of containers, for example 200 to be examined in a day, they will close. Even if it is one bill of lading that contains 200 containers, once they book it, they will close. The result is that a lot of containers that have been booked to be examined are not examined, and they go into demurrage. The concessionaires are taking advantage of this loophole to enrich themselves, because if you look at it, most of them now depend on demurrages to pay their staff salaries, they know that whatever happens, they will make their money.”
He further stated that the concession agreement was a good thing as service delivery, security and safety have all been improved but added that it would have added more value to the system if the right things were properly done.
“The concession itself was very good but the Ts were not properly crossed and the Is were not properly dotted. Issues that would have been spelt out were not spelt, so you cannot hold the concessionaires responsible if they don’t comply with all the terms of the agreement.”
Mr Ukor added that the concessionaires were taking advantage of the loopholes in the agreement, not only to turn a deaf ear to the plight of the freight forwarders, but to enrich themselves at the detriment of the forwarders.
“The concessionaires are taking advantage of the lacuna in the agreement to turn a deaf ear to the cry of the freight forwarders .You now discover that the concessionaires now dictate to us, the owners of the consignments when it will be convenient for them to position our containers .If it is stated clearly in the agreement, how long and how many containers will be positioned in a day, all these problems would not have arisen.”