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Shippers’ council to shut bonded terminals over illegal charges

The Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) has threatened to seal up Denca and Kachicares bonded terminals over illegal storage charges as well as lack of adequate handling equipment in the terminals.

This was disclosed by the executive secretary of the council, Barr. Hassan Bello during a tour of the two bonded terminals in Lagos.

Bello, who stated that it is the responsibility of terminal operators who stemmed cargoes to bonded terminal to incure the cost and not the shippers, insisted that N45 million collected from shippers’ by the two offdock operators should be refunded.

He added that there could not be an informal arrangement whatsoever in the terminal, saying that the council would take a very strict measure which would include sealing off  terminals if need be.

Speaking specifically at Denca bonded terminal, Bello informed that the terminal is indebted to the tune of N42 million terminal charges that is yet to be refunded to shippers and bemoaned failure of the offdock operators  to adhere to the memo issued by the council.

Bello who also lamented poor state and location of some of the bonded terminals urged the Nigeria Customs Service (NSC) to liaise with the council before issuing license to the bonded terminals.

He informed that the council will begin to post its staff to the bonded terminals to monitor and enforce efficiency at the terminals.

According to him, “I am particularly not happy with the arrangement that is going on between the seaport terminals and bonded terminals each one trying to pass the bulk on transfer and storage charges, and what we are saying is that our circular which we issued in July will have to suffice for this exercise.

“No storage charges, no transfer charges and if cargoes are stemmed from the seaport terminal, those who stemmed the goods are responsible for whatever cost and not the shippers.

“So, between the seaport terminal and the offdock terminal there must be a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), I think what has been happening between the two is informal arrangement and we cannot have informal arrangements, the shippers cannot pay for what is not their responsibility.”

Bello added that the visit to the terminals was to see how things are, the operational deficiencies and ways to tackle them. It was also to ensure that cost of shipping was brought down considerably.

He pointed out that as regards equipment, NSC was looking at frequency and capacity, adding that they had a capacity of 28,000 Twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU).

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