The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hon. Emmanuel Jime has directed shipping companies to stop charging importers and clearing agents demurrage during network downtime.
Demurrage is a charge levied by the shipping line to the importer in cases where they have not taken delivery of the full container and move it out of the port/terminal area for unpacking within the allowed free days.
In a press statement by the head, Public Relations of the Council, Rakiya Dhikru-Yagboyaju, the Executive Secretary disclosed this on Tuesday when he led the agency on a courtesy visit to Maersk Line and Meditaranean Shipping Company (MSC) in Lagos.
Jime also directed refund of demurrage charges to importers and clearing agents within 10 days.
Jime sought for cooperation and collaboration with shipping companies said the directive was in a bid to drive efficiency, transparency and effectiveness of port processes.
He said, “shipping companies should adhere to government directives on evacuation of empty containers out of the country, shipping companies should ensure that consignees are not charged demurrage within the period of network down time, shipping companies must give adequate notification on the arrival of vessels and stemming of containers to shippers.
“Other are of resolve include, shipping companies should ensure prompt refund of container deposit within agreed period of ten days, to ensure twenty four hours port operation and incorporate multimodal approach to cargo delivery.”
Jime, however, urged the operators to ensure the continuity of robust relationship they are having with the council even as he asked the shipping companies to operate and conduct their operations within the regulatory framework of the Council.
He further added that they are expected to give NSC team unfettered access to monitor their operations to ensure compliance to set standards.
Other issues raised by the CEO include, to ensure that charges or fees collected by shipping companies are tied to service rendered in order to stem exploitative tendencies and arbitrariness.
Others are to ensure shipping companies put in place a Customer Care Desk to handle timeously every issues and complaints on service delivery. There should be frequent interaction with customers.
The Council’s helmsman called for full digitization of operational processes for greater efficiency, effective management of return of empty container.
In her response, the Managing Director, Maersk Line, Lara Lana expressed delight that NSC paid the visit. She lauded the Council for calling for the establishment of Customers Desk. NSC, she said, was the only agency that placed the interest of their customers at the forefront.
She noted that Maersk Line has created mobile applications for their customers to aid operations.
In a visit to Meditarranean Shipping Company, the Managing Director, Mr Andrew Lynch, said deplorable access to port was one of the challenges facing their operations.
He affirmed their readiness to abide by NSC’s regulatory activities at the ports.