In line with Nigerian Shippers’ Council’s (NSC) position, the Union of African Shippers’ Councils (UASC) has called for the immediate suspension of Peak Season Surcharges (PSS) imposed by Shipping Lines serving the West African Trade Route.
Shippers’ Council had in an August 16, 2020 letter addressed to the European Community ShipOwners Association (ECSA) and copied to the UASC among others, complained about the outrageous increase in surcharges with particular reference to Peak Season Surcharge (PSS), levied on Nigeria bound cargo.
In a letter signed by the Secretary-General Ogoula Giscard Lilian, the UASC strongly condemned the “unilateral and offensive action by ECSA carriers in blatant disrespect of previous agreement and expectations.”
The African group stated that the action destabilizes the business operations of its members “through the increasing transport costs and weakening of the economies of UASC member-states especially during this outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic which has kept commercial activity at its lowest in terms of activity and prosperity.”
The letter to ECSA further stated that “the implementation of this unilateral decision on your part is in violation of previous UASC/ECSA agreements requiring prior, mutual and reasonable notification of UASC and PMAWCA by individual shipping companies before any such imposition of new tariffs, surcharge or increase in transport cost. The letter referred ECSA to the Report of the UASC/ECSA meeting held on 16 July 2010; Joint Declaration between UASC and ECSA signed in Brussels on 12 April 2012.”
UASC called on ECSA to kindly take the following measures: respect previous agreements and recommendations on this matter; suspend the application of the Peak Season Surcharge until discussions on the new surcharges take place; take necessary measures to improve on the general transparency and facilitation of trade relation with UASC’s members.
Last week, Shippers’ Council convened a meeting of stakeholders and the organized private sector (OPS) groups to discuss the astronomical increase in Peak Season Surcharge where all stakeholders condemned the surcharge.
Meanwhile, NSC’s Director of Consumer Affairs Department, Chief Cajetan Agu, said a joint platform made up of UASC, Shippers’ Council and other relevant stakeholders will be created to facilitate discussions with ECSA.
At the stakeholders meeting last week, the Chairman of NSC Governing Board, Hon. Bashie Sheriff Machina told our correspondent that the regional body of Shippers Councils would take a unified stand in fight against the increment.