By Kenneth Jukpor
Following wide complaints against shipping companies and terminal operators’ arbitrary levies on transfer of containers, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has demanded the refund of all transfer charges collected from consignees of cargoes transferred from seaport terminals to off-dock.
The Council stated that the refund would be from 1st June 2020 to date, even as it published guidelines for the transfer of cargoes from seaports to offdock terminals.
“Cargo trabsfers made at the instance of the shipping companies/agencies, seaport terminal operators or off-dock terminal operators, without the consignees requesting for such transfer, must be refunded to the consignees immediately. Failure to refund such charges will lead to the Council invoking its regulatory powers to enforce compliance,” NSC stated.
Having been inundated with complaints against shipping companies/agencies, seaport terminal operators and off-dock terminals on the arbitrary levy of container demurrage, storage and transfer charges on innocent consignees, for transportation of cargoes to off-dock terminals unilaterally initiated by terminals without the consignees’ consent, the Council published new guidelines for the practice.
“It should be noted that based on international standard and recognised practice, freight paid at origin covers movement of cargo to final port of delivery at destination. It follows therefore, that cargoes earmarked for transfer to off-dock terminals, at the request of the shipping company, seaport terminal operator or off-dock terminal, without the consent of the consignees or their authorized representatives, should not attract charge(s) against the consignees,” the press release signed by the Head of Public Relations, NSC, Rakiya Zubairu said.
Describing such practice as unethical and unwholesome, Shippers’ Council has resolved that, “import cargoes should be delivered to the nominated port of destination as stated in the Bill of Lading”
“Where the operational convenience of the seaport terminals or some other prevailing circumstances necessitate the transfer of cargoes from the seaport terminals to off-dock terminals, the concerned consignees or their authorized agents must be notified in good time, and must not be charged the cost associated with such transfer, including barging cost”
“Storage and demurrage charges on cargoes earmarked for transfer from seaport terminals to off-dock terminals, without the consent of the consignee, should take effect only after arriving at the designated off-dock terminals.”