The Nigeria Shippers Council says it is working towards reducing local shipping charges by 35%.
The Executive Secretary, Barr Hassan Bello said this while welcoming participants to the Sub Regional Summit on unfair shipping surcharges and high local shipping charges at the ports of west and central Africa Subregion holding in Abuja.
Bello said ” already about two billion has been saved through the confirmation of the reasonable ness of demurrage”.
This he said has been achieved through ” actively engaging the shipping lines in Nigeria INA comprehensive negotiation on local shipping charges “. Theses engagements are geared towards collapsing ” the myriad of charges to a manageable standard nomenclature- the charges have been collapsed from 18 to 5. The ES said these charges must be justified and tied to measurable services.
The Minister of transportation ,Rotimi Amaechi while addressing the participants said “the Federal government through the Nigerian Shippers council has been using its influence in the GSF to resolve cases affecting Nigeria’s trading interest”.
According to Amaechi ” our actions have often checkmated claims of terrorism, piracy, armed attacks on ships or other negative events in the gulf of Guinea, to increase charges and introduce new surcharges on shipment to Nigeria”. A practical example he citted is war risk surcharge which is often levied on Nigeria’s cargo even when Nigeria is not at war.
He assured them that the Federal government of Nigeria would adopt the resolutions reached at the meeting and implement them to reduce cost of doing business, boost trade and development in the subregion.
The Vice President in his keynote address said the Federal government is aware of the disturbing cost of transportation of goods through the ports in the subregion and is working assiduously through the shippers council to address them.
The Vice President who spoke through the Minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi said
” Also to reduce transport cost and improve efficiency in line with the economic recovery and growth plan, the government of Nigeria is promoting the establishment of modern transport infrastructure such as inland dry ports, standard rail gauge ,truck transit parks and the deep sea port in Lekki that supports multimodal approach to cargo delivery “.
Prof Osinbajo saluted the courage of the Union of African Shippers Forum for beaming its searchlight on the issues of surcharges in Africa.
” Nigeria will not hesitate to take appropriate measures including legislation to check these unfair trade practices “.