—–as freight Forwarders threaten to go on strike over extortions by shipping companies
Aggrieved freight forwarders, who are plying their trade at the Lagos ports, have served a notice of withdrawal of their services to protest what they described as unbridled and barefaced extortions and high-handedness by the shipping companies.
In the notice of service withdrawal signed by Alhaji Tanko Ibrahim, the National Coordinator, 100 percent Compliance team of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), the Customs brokers complained of a litany of operational breaches and extortionist behaviors of the shipping companies.
These include depletion of container deposit refunds, undue debits on equipment detention which brings the Customs brokers into a collision course with their transporters and principals.
” The shipping companies engage in unnecessary extortions of our transporters up to N150, 000 before dropping empty containers which is then passed back to us before returning our container cards.
” We are also being subjected to incessant network issues which lead to inability to raise invoices and transmit TDOs to which we lose not less than N10million per day.
“The shipping companies also engage in deceitful demand of opening of importer account/extortions before releasing invoice.
“We lose N50 million daily to the wilful transfer of containers against the wish, consent or approval of consignees.
“We are also being subjected to illegal transfer charges against the directives of the Nigerian Shippers’Council.
“As a result of their negligence or lack of capacity, the shipping companies foist on us undue equipment detention charges ranging from N200,000 per 1× 40ft and N100,000 per 1×20ft multiplied by 1000 containers”
The freight forwarders have therefore given the shipping companies a two-week ultimatum to address their grievances or face the pains of service disruption.
“Against this background, we wish to notify you that from October 25th,2021 to November 10th, 2021, if these issues raised above are not properly addressed, we will withdraw our services” the customs brokers declared in their letter which they addressed to all the shipping companies and copied to all the government agencies, security agencies, and others stakeholders.
In an ominous voice, the angry freight forwarders warned the predominantly foreign shipping companies not to open their offices at the end of the two-week ultimatum if they fail to heed their demands and address their complaints.