By Gboyega Oni
Mearskline, CMA and Cosco may be heading into trouble water as the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has threatened to stop them and other unfriendly shipping companies from freighting Nigerian bound cargo particularly the ones that belong to their importers.
Giving the reason for the threat, NAGAFF said that the shipping lines are unrepentantly ripping off and cheating Nigerian importers, their principals, by charging them all sort of frivolous fees, which are not approved by the government.
The development was contained in a press statement issued by Mr. Emma Agubanze, Head of Special Duty, NAGAFF.
The association noted that its members shall be asked to drive home the threat soon as it concludes discussion with some shipping lines it described as friendly.
.NAGAFF however blamed the cheating of importers by these shipping lines on the failure of the government to inaugurate the governing board of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigerian (CRFFN), noting that time has come for self regulation since government was not ready to save the situation.
‘’NAGAFF and its members may likely to blacklist some shipping companies from undertaking their clients Nigeria bound cargoes. Those that may face the blacklisting shall include but not limited to Mearskline, CMA and Cosco etc. This shall soon happen thereafter we conclude discussion with friendly shipping lines like Lagos and Niger, PIL and One Ocean Network etc.
‘’All freight forwarders are hereby directed to wait for further directive in this regard. It is time to draw the attention of all our principals to the seeming rip off being witnessed at the moment. It is time for self regulation since we have all seen that Government is very slow in addressing the prevailing corruption and avoidable cheating on our maritime trade and transportation with emphasis on frivolous charges. We have accordingly directed the committee on shipping companies to turn in their report of findings within two weeks as regard breaches of standards procedures.
‘’It is regrettable that up till now the Hon. Minister of Transportation due to his tight schedule is yet to inaugurate the Governing Board of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN). It shall be the duty of CRFFN to regulate/control the excesses of these shipping companies and terminal operators. And for the emphasis, the Council has a tribunal where some of the heads of the shipping companies and terminal operators shall be brought to justice at any time their operations are in breach of regulations. Other than taking them up through civil litigation, the Council shall compile their various breaches for criminal proceedings. It is our wish that there should be sanity and rule of law in the maritime transport and Customs facilitation,’’ NAGAFF said.