Shippers’ Council saves N1.74bn on demurrage

Hassan Bello

The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has disclosed that it saved shippers and the nation’s economy  a sum of N 1, 740,807,843  from some of its  shipping activities in the first half of this year.

Investigations by the Marineandeconomy Online, showed that the Council made the savings from verifications of the value of Container Demurrage, that would have been imposed on shippers during the period, as well as its confirmation  of Charter party Fees and  freight rates that would have been forced  on Nigerian shippers, by shipping agents.

The breakdown of the value of the savings made by the Council,   during the period, showed that it saved a sum of N1,663,248,619 on Container Demurrage, $71,376 ( N25,838,112 at the exchange rate of N362 to the dollar) , and $142,876 (N51,721,112  at the exchange rate of N362 to the dollar) .

Experts have said that such savings made frequently by the Council has also reduced the cost of shipping cargoes into the country, that of clearing them, from the seaports, and invariably the prices of commodities and services in the market which would have been affected.

It was gatherd that the need for the Council to discharge the responsibility, arose, following complaints by shippers of excessive demurrage on their cargoes as well as high cost of freight rates and party fees.

The justifaction of such role by the Council, is also to help the Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)  to check frivolous claims,  particularly from freight rates and party fees, which are always in American dollars, and which could lead to high demands on the nation’s Foreign Exchange Earnings.

Consequently, the CBN had authorized the Council to  be verifying and confirming   values   of demurrages, party fees and freight rates ,sequel to the effective manner in which the Council has been checking introduction of  arbitrary and illegal charges,   by  foreign shipping agents operating in Nigeria.

This is even as the Shippers’ Council of late, has been spear heading in global shipping fora , the crusade for shippers in Africa, including Nigeria,  to be allowed to take part in decison making process, concerning the issue of freight rates , surcharges, among others , which have always been high  and detrimental to the interests of the importers and exporters, for the fact that such measures have been the exclusive preserve of shipping companies and their agents.

This is  also why the Shippers’ Council  has been advocating that Shippers in Africa , should relate directly  with  the carriers instead of the agents, so that  there would be  a  framework  for determining the shipping charges, and  because of the  tendency for carriers  to make up charges, elsewhere, apart from trade, now that freight has been  very stable  because of competition.

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