Nigerian Ports Authority has extended the period for suspension of demurrage and storage charges on cargoes by 14 after the initial 21 days expired.
The NPA had on March 24 announced suspension of demurrage and storage charges on imported cargoes at the wake of coronavirus disease in Nigeria.
Despite the directive, shipping lines and port operators reportedly charged for demurrage and storage, a development some customs brokers threatened to challenge in court.
The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agent, on Thursday, asked its members to keep evidence of payment of demurrage and storage fees for future reclaim.
However, in a statement entitled ‘Relief measures to port users due to outbreak of COVID-19- Extension of relief Period 1’ signed by the General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, Jatto Adams, the NPA directed all port operators to suspend all storage charges on imported cargoes for another 14 days.
He stated, “The NPA has directed all terminal operators to extend the suspension of all applicable terminal storage fees on consignments (demurrage) for another 14 days effective April 13, 2020.
“This follows the extension of the lockdown in response to the COVID-19 outbreak by President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday, April 12, 2020.
“This gesture is in recognition of the pressure the COVID-19 pandemic imposes on businesses, the responsibility imposed on the authority to relieve this burden on its customers as well as attaining the objective of the Federal Government’s Ease of Doing Business Policy at this trying period.”
The authority stated that compensation to terminal operators would be spelt out in the April 8, 2020 letter to the terminal operators.
“The authority will not tolerate any form of non-compliance with the directive and not hesitate to apply the appropriate sanctions,” he added.