NAGAFF Distances Self From Purported Strike

NAGAFF Distances Self From Purported Strike

Despite clamours among some stakeholders in the freight forwarding genre of the maritime sector to embark on a definite strike for what they refer to as high-handedness among the terminal operators in Apapa port terminals, the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has distanced itself from such claims.

The associations said the after effect of the recent strike which it described as needless was the tonic it needed to do things differently because it could not continue the same way adding that strike had cost the economy of Nigeria over N40 Billion aside ship waiting time.
In a statement released by the association and signed by the National Publicity, Simeon Nwonu, it said, “The alleged complaint against APMT operations is not peculiar to Apapa port.  The issue of arbitrary charges is a matter that affect almost all the terminal operators in the Nigerian Ports.  This matter at present is being handled by the Nigerian Shippers Council as the commercial regulator.  We are aware that a case is pending at the High Court between the terminal operators and Nigerian Shippers Council with regards to arbitrary charges.

“In a civilized society where the rule of law is observed, there was no reason for the strike because it is in contempt.  This is aside the fact that NSC issued a letter to all the stakeholders to the effect that there is no need for such strike since a similar matter is pending in court.

It is our belief that he who goes to equity must come with clean hands.  AP Moller is a world class terminal operator and an investor in Nigeria that requires the support and protection in our country.  If the Agency of the Government that had the schedule to administer our ports had performed well it is obvious that our ports may not have been concessioned.  Shame on us,” it read
The letter stated further that AP Moller was a world class terminal operator that was being frustrated by stakeholders who failed to comply with rules of the business.

“And for the avoidance of doubt it is on record that AP Moller is a World class terminal operator who may be currently frustrated due to the non-compliance attitude of stakeholders to import regulations.  The Nigeria seaports like any other all over the World are transit areas for goods and persons.  What we see today is that ports are being used as warehouses and thereby distorting the entire system in ports administration and management. 
“The impunity with which port users are doing things is frustrating leading to harsh sanctions by the terminal operators.  If we do not obey and enforce our laws it is our belief that we shall continue to complain.”

Citing section 31 of CEMA, the publicity Secretary said that it was very clear that dwell time of cargo in the port which shall not exceed 30 days and thereafter are moved out of the port control for further action including but not limited to processes leading to auctioning saying, “In our opinion it is our view that APMT is not our problem but what we have is a self inflicted injury.”
He therefore advocated that the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NS C) should be allowed to allowed to conclude the ongoing court processes with terminal operators to resolve the issue of arbitrary charges adding that those alleging that APMT did not observe the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) they recently had were not being truthful.
The Association thereby directed that all the members of the association should desist from participating in any matter that can lead to the closure of the port without exhausting all amicable avenues with the authority.

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