Shippers Council Seals APMDC for Duplication of Demurrage Charges, Bans Charging Nigerians in Foreign Currency
The Nigerian Shippers’ Council has sealed off the premises of Associated Port and Marine Development Company Limited (APMDC) recently in Lagos for its constant disregards to the Council’s directives on dual, illegitimate, excess demurrage, frivolous charges, and charging Nigerians consignees on foreign currencies on groupage cargo charges.
The clamped down was as a result of a protest letter on ‘fictitious and arbitrary value being attributed to a LCL Shipment with B/L NO: LDLAPA8C6520’ sent to the Council by Management of Globegate West Africa Company Nigeria Ltd, on LCL Shipment of 7 packages, weighing 1.716 kg of groupage cargo.
As part of measure to tackle the complaints amicable in the interest of Ease of Doing Business in the Country, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council organised series of tripartite meetings with aggrieved parties, but the deconsolidating company APMDC refused to adhere to the resolutions reached at the meetings.
The head of complaints of the Council, Mr. Moses Fadipe, and a Deputy Director, who chaired the tripartite meetings, in Company of Margret Ogbonnah, Deputy Director Market and Tariff Setting demanded a justifiable clarification on all the alleged illegitimate excess charges and foreign charges meted on Nigerians Importers. Fadipe, reminded the meeting that Memorandum 15, Article 1 of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) prohibits charges in foreign currencies in the country.
However, the tripartite meeting resolved as follows ‘That APMDC should note that all charges specified by bill of lading are duplications, already covered by Documentation/Handling charges and nomenclatures such as cargo Release Charge, NOA, Transfer Charges and Service Charges be discarded, Charges related to Currency Adjustment Factor (CAF), Transport Adjustment Factor (TAF), Import Security Fee (ISF), on the cargo shipment be cancelled because it is contrary to Local Shipping Charges which is collated in local charges.
The meeting also resolved that de- consolidator; APMDC should reduce 50% on the NVOCC Line Agency Charges, because it is arbitrary to charge 9.46 per CBM, that the complainant should pay the total of Five hundred and thirty-seven thousand, nine hundred and thirty thousand naira (N537,930.00)
In a letter to the Council on the resolutions signed by the representative of APMDC at the meeting, Mr Austine Modebe; an Assistant General Manager of the company stated, ‘In line with the explanations offered in the course of our meetings/defense for charges on our invoices relating to their origins, we are also taking immediate steps to formally notify our principals (the cargo consolidators) who we represent. The complaints from Shippers Council and the decisions pushed down are equally being communicated to Origin for a co- ordinated/ joint Management understanding and decision”.
Nigerian Shippers’ Council, based on the resolutions reached at the meeting, finally reduced the demurrage charged by Associated Port and Marine Development Company Limited (APMDC) from the sum of $603.55 freight adjustment factor and N494,770.50 as shipping charges to N537,930.00
Following the disregard of the resolutions by the de-consolidation, Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement Division, Servicom Unit of Nigerian Shippers’ Council’s sealed off the premises of the Company in Apapa, Lagos. This action was accompanied by officers from Regulatory Services department, Complaints Unit and Public Relations Unit of the Council to ensure strict compliance with an earlier reached agreement at a tripartite meeting held at the NSC Headquarters. After signing an undertaking, by APMDC, The Nigerian Shippers’ Council opened the premises for transactions.
Mr. Modebe, the Assistant General Manager of Associated Port and Marine Development Co. Ltd whose premises was sealed off as a result of their noncompliance attitudes and total disregards to constituted authority, pleaded with Shippers’ Council and re-issued a fresh debit note in line with the resolutions reached during the tripartite meeting to the consignee, before the premises was opened.
The Management of Globegate West Africa Nigeria Limited were very grateful to the Council for their prompt intervention which led to the released of their cargo at affordable rate.