Shippers Association Lagos State has expressed fear that with the increment in freight rates by some shipping companies, importers may be asked to pay $20,000 for a cargo from China to Nigeria.
The President of SALS, Jonathan Nicole, in a chat with Financial Street on Monday, described the development as wicked and unreasonable.
His words, “In a few months from now, we will enter into the peak season and they will slam us with another surcharge. Last year, we had a very interesting argument about the peak season surcharges. This is just March, and they have increased their freight. By the time we get to June, we may be paying $20,000 to move containers from China to Nigeria.
“It is not encouraging; it is destructive, wicked and unreasonable. Much as we agree that shipping lines have their own problems, we cannot service the taxi driver’s car for him to carry our cargo. So, they should solve their own problems and let convention take its toll.”
On the complaints by shipping lines over dearth of empty container for export, he said, “If they complain that they don’t have containers to bring in our imports, how is that the fault of the shipper? Before we placed order, there is an understanding that we will move our cargo to our country. You did not tell us that you dont have containers to move our cargo.
“After we had paid your freight, you come back to say you have increased freight. It is like somebody taking a loan at 22 per cent, and the moment the loan is granted, they increase it to 27 per cent.”
He blamed the regulatory agencies at the ports for the increment in the freight rate.
“So, again, we hold the regulatory bodies responsible for this and I will pass this information to the Nigerian Shippers’ Council to look into it. Then, if there are ways we can smoothen the situation for Nigerian shippers, we will do so.
“China should not have done that because they have companies here in Nigeria. They ought to have returned their empty containers to China as well and, in fact, if they don’t do that, it means they have underlying issues which they have not told us,” he said.
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