By Kenneth Jukpor
Following the expiration of the seven days ultimatum freight forwarders under National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) issued Mr. Klaus Laursen, Country Manager of AP Moller Terminals Nigeria, to tender an unreserved official apology, the freight forwarding group has inaugurated a Technical Committee to re-evaluate activities of the APMT terminal in Apapa, Lagos.
According to NAGAFF, APMT Apapa has been one of the major setbacks mitigating against ease of doing business at the nation’s port, adding that the terminal hasn’t achieved the goals of concessioning that the industry anticipated.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony yesterday, the President of NAGAFF, Chief Increase Uche said, “NAGAFF High Command has decided to carry out a holistic re-evaluation and comprehensive assessment of the performance of APMT, among other terminals.”
“AMPT is one of the terminals that hasn’t achieved the reform purposes which necessitated the port concession in 2006. It is based on this fact and other numerous reasons that led to this establishment of this committee for this crucial task.”
According to him, the cost of doing business which was one of the reasons for the port concession has worsened at APMT. “Local shipping charges has been on the increase at AMPT despite the concession. Freight forwarders can attest to the fact that APMT terminals aren’t user friendly.”
“Their customer service is nothing to write about and the impunity of the company is disheartening. Recall that recently Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) granted waivers during the lockdown as aresult of COVID-19, we know what it took us to get them to comply. We have been battling with this company because of the highhandedness in implementation of progressive storage charges, unfriendly business practices leading importers to utilize other ports,” Uche said.
Also speaking at the event, the Founder of NAGAFF, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam noted that the association has a long standing cordial business relationship with the company, but the monthly industrial appraisal report of APMT’s activities at Apapa would be in relation to best practices in the international community.
Aniebonam also accused APMT of transferring containers out of the ports without the consent of importers, lamenting that such practice is in contravention of the contract of afreightment.
The NAGAFF founder maintained that such cases of transferring cargoes without the consent of the owners should see the terminal operator to bear the fiscal cost.
“APMT is transferring containers out of the mother ports to the outer terminals without the consent of the owner or importer and that is against the contract of afreightment”
“If APMT thinks that freight forwarders are responsible for cargoes abandoned at the ports or not taken out of the ports as at when due; then I begin to wonder if they are conversant with Section 31 of the Customs law which talks about the dwell time of cargoes and what such happen when cargoes stay beyond such period at the terminal,” Aniebonam queried.
He frowned at the accusation by the new Country Manager of APMT Nigeria, Mr. Klaus Laursen, who said that freight forwarders are the reason cargoes are not exiting the ports in Apapa, particularly APMT.
“The new manager just arrived, instead of settling down to study the situation of things, the port operating environment and what have you; he decided to make statements that are uncalled for,” the NAGAFF Founder said.