As importers lament indiscriminate hike in tariffs
By Davies Iheamnachor
The Nigerian Shippers’ Council, NSC, has intensified efforts to improve shipping activities at the ports in the Eastern part of the country.
NSC said its targets is to ensure that full shipping activities return to the ports in the zone, adding that it has tackled lots of the myriads of challenges confronting the zone.
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The Executive Secretary and CEO, NSC, Hon. Emmanuel Jime, spoke in Port Harcourt on Monday at an Interactive Forum with all Maritime Stakeholders at the Eastern Ports.
Jime said the Council was earlier constrained with security and other challenges in the region, but noted that those concerns have been tackled.
He said the security situation in the South-South region has improved as a result of the implementation of the Deep Blue Project by the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, adding that it was a major achievement.
He also noted that the Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA, has reduced ship dues by 10% to attract more vessels to the Eastern Ports, adding that these were all aimed at improving shipping in the zone.
Jime stated: “The Nigeria Ports Authority has reduced ship dues by 10% to attract more vessels to the Eastern ports and there are concerted efforts to prevail on NPA to reduce ship dues by 30%.
“NSC will engage the shipping companies operating at the Eastern Ports to obtain promotional freight rates for exports products that are processed through Eastern Ports.
“The committee is currently holding focused groups meetings with Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Ministry of Works, NPA, NIMASA, NSC and Shipping Companies, and terminal operators to develop measures that will stimulate activities and patronage of Eastern Ports; Port Harcourt and One inclusive.
“Once these measures are implemented, there will be more shipping activities at the Eastern ports.”
However, one of the participants, an importer, Mr. Kenneth Worlu, during the interactive session, had expressed regret over the indiscriminate hike in tariffs by terminal operators and shipping companies.
Worlu noted that for there to be an improvement in the Eastern wharfs, NSC should be in total control of the ports.
He said: “We see terminal operatives increase tariffs indiscriminately. A fish container that comes with 25 metric tones was paying N9 million before, but today it pays N45 million. This is over 300 per cent increase.
“We all sit down here and all these are happening. We wonder why the Shippers’ Council allowed them to hike the price without giving us information.”