Following what they called “unbridled and barefaced extortions and high handedness” by the shipping companies operating in the country, aggrieved freight forwarders who are plying their trade in the nation’s seaports situated in Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre, Lagos have served a notice of withdrawal of their services.
The threat to withdraw services was part of the freight forwarders protest to draw attention to what they have been passing through in the hands of the shipping companies over the years.
In the notice of service withdrawal signed by the National Coordinator, 100 Percent Compliance Team, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Alhaji Tanko Ibrahim, the freight forwarders complained of operational breaches and extortionist behaviour of the shipping companies.
These include depletion of container deposit refunds, undue debits on equipment detention which brings the freight forwarders into collision course with their transporters and principals.
His words: “The shipping companies engage in unnecessary extortions of our transporters up to N150, 000 before dropping empty containers which is then passed back to us before returning our container cards. We are also being subjected to incessant network issues which lead to inability to raise invoices and transmit TDOs to which we lose not less than N10 million per day.
“The shipping companies also engage in deceitful demand of opening of importer account/extortions before releasing invoice. We lose N50 million daily to willful transfer of containers against the wish, consent or approval of consignees. We are also being subjected to illegal transfer charges against the directives of the Nigerian Shippers Council. As a result of their negligence or lack of capacity, the shipping companies foist on us undue equipment detention charges ranging from N200,000 per 1× 40ft and N100,000 per 1×20ft multiplied by 1000 containers.”
According to Ibrahim, the freight forwarders have therefore given the shipping companies two-week ultimatum to address their grievances or face the pains of service disruptions. Against this background, we wish to notify you that from October 25th, 2021 to November 10th, 2021, if these issues raised above are not properly addressed, we will withdraw our services.
While declaring in their letter which was addressed to all the shipping companies and copied to all the government agencies, security agencies and others stakeholders, they warned the shipping companies which are mostly owned by foreigners they would not be allowed to open their offices at the end of the two-week ultimatum if they fail to heed to their demands.