" ITREALMS: Eastern Maritime stakeholders reject haulage hike, give 7 days ultimatum - ITREALMS

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Eastern Maritime stakeholders reject haulage hike, give 7 days ultimatum - ITREALMS

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Importers/Exporters, Shippers and Freight Forwarders operating in the Eastern ports of the country have unanimously rejected an alleged 200 percent increase in Haulage Fare by the Nigerian Shippers council (NSC) in connivance with the transport unions, Maritime flat and cargo and the Freight Forwarding transport, lamenting its impending inflationary effect should the alleged hike is allowed to stand.
Eastern Maritime stakeholders reject haulage hike, give 7 days ultimatum - ITREALMS
The body unanimously threatened operational shot down as they declared a 7 day ultimatum during which the NSC is expected to return to status quo ante by reversing the hiked rate.

Their position was made known to ITREALMS on Wednesday in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital while analyzing impending inflationary effects on the masses if the hike is not moderated and allowed to stand.

Speaking on behalf of the groups, Mr Joshua Ahuama, Zonal Coordinator, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) noted that the meeting became necessary to enable the body collectively reject the new rate as it contravened the provisions of the NSC, Act.

According to him, stakeholders consultation was an integral provision of the agency's Act, wondering why the agency did not utilize such, as he noted that several protest letters have been written to the Nigerian Shippers council rejecting the hiked fare.

"Recently, the NSC had approved a 200 percent increment on haulage rate for transport owners and drivers operating under the maritime union of Nigeria."

"To this end, Importers and Freight forwarders association in the Eastern zone have unanimously disputed the new rate because it is outrageous, arbitrary and unacceptable to all stakeholders in the zone."

"We have however, resolved to adopt all peaceful efforts, we started this move on March 14, 2024, by calling on the NSC to ensure proper stakeholders engagement and renegotiation"

"These measures are also expected to help all parties reach a benchmark that would be in the interest of all stakeholders in the maritime value chain.

"We also urge the NSC to return to status quo ante by suspending implementation of the disputed rate pending proper renegotiation covering the interest of all stakeholders.

"We are not on a selfish course, our demands are in the interest of Nigerians because any slight increase in haulage rate will reflect on prices of goods in the open market, a businessman incorporates total logistics cost into prices of goods.," he said.

But, the Nigerian Shippers council has said that the newly approved rate took into consideration the cost, moderation and other cargo transport issues.

The group however, noted that they may be constrained to take drastic measures that may include suspension on all declaration of goods and payment of Customs duties which could negatively affect national revenue and economic output.

Some members of the Import and Export association who were present at the meeting included; Nigeria Shippers Association, Aba International Traders Association, Ultimate Importers Association, POP Importers Association, Nnewi Importers Association and Onitsha Importers Association.

Others were African Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON), National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), RF Transportation Incorporated, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents, amongst others

By Bon Peters, Port Harcourt, RIvers State/Editor

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