Multinational shipping companies operating in Nigerian waters over the weekend refused to attend a meeting called by the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), the country’s economic port regulator, and the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria ( CRFFN). The meeting was called to discuss the illegal charges and extortion allegations made against them (shipping companies) by clearing agents and truckers.
Recall that freight forwarders in the country’s ports had issued a two-week strike notice from November 10, 2021, to multinational shipping companies operating in the country on what they called multitudes of extortion complaints and several other forms of imposing illegal charges on their customers, importers and carriers.
Shipping companies had previously refused to attend two separate meetings convened by the NSC and CRFFN that regulate freight forwarders even if they were duly invited, a development that stakeholders called a affront to Nigerian authorities.
CRFFN Registrar / CEO Sam Nwakaohu, who spoke at the meeting, noted that it was shocking and unacceptable for shipping companies to have stayed away from such a crucial meeting that was convened to prevent a possible closure of the country’s seaports, which would have a far-reaching negative impact on the maritime industry and, by extension, the country’s economy.
He assured that the Council will contact other heads of government agencies in the industry, in particular the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) which directly regulates shipping companies with a view to ensuring that they attend the meeting in order to ” avoid a possible closure of seaports, which is currently undesirable.
“We will do everything in our power to ensure that we bring all parties to the dispute to a negotiating table in the general interest of Nigeria. Shipping companies can’t afford to shun the CRFFN because we don’t regulate them, maybe they can’t shun the NPA, which regulates them directly.
“Our interest is the freight forwarders because we regulate them and they have been yelling at us and we cannot afford not to intervene to protect their interest which is the interest of Nigerians and the Nigerian nation. If the shipping companies try to snub the NPA, we will have only one option left, which is to take the matter to the Minister of Transport. I am sure they will not snub the minister, ”said the boss of the CRFFN.
He congratulated the freight forwarders under the auspices of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) National Compliance Team for their responsibility, arguing that the organization had decided not to take the laws into their own hands. closing seaports without notice.
“You are a responsible organization and your behavior has been exemplary. You have decided not to take the laws into your own hands rather than you have chosen to go through the legal process of dealing with these issues and here we are, so we will ensure that your grievances are dealt with by all legal means and we do not won’t let you down, ”he also mentioned.
A highlight of the event attended by representatives of freight forwarders led by the National Coordinator of the Compliance Team, Alhaji Tanko Ibrahim and truckers led by the President of the Maritime Truck Owners Association (AMATO), the Chief Rémi Ogungbemi was reading the Eight Point Communiqué which agreed that payment of N 100,000 not received by freight forwarders, importers and carriers before they were allowed to drop their empty containers into holding bays shipping companies should cease with immediate effect.
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