October 21, 2023 [One Page Africa]- The Founder of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, has expressed his support of upward review of terminal operators’ storage charges at the seaports.
For the records, the port economic regulator, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), recently approved the increase in storage charges to discourage use of the ports and terminals as storage facilities.
In a statement on Thursday, Aniebonam said the removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government, high cost of diesel and declining value of the naira have led to the high operating cost at the port, thereby necessitating an increase in charges.
“The truth of the matter is straightforward and unambiguous for us to understand that the operational cost of the terminal operators have increased due to the removal of fuel subsidy. Therefore, the urgent need for them to break- even as business enterprises cannot be over-emphasised.
“What shall be most appropriate at the moment is for the Nigeria Shippers Council to call for an emergency meeting of the stakeholders and the terminal operators to seat and work out a competitive price increase that is reasonable and affordable,” he said.
The NAGAFF Founder also counselled freight forwarders to support the Federal Government to overcome the present economic hardship in the country.
“Whatever it may be, it is my belief that this is the time for sacrifices and hard work if we must come out from the present economic hardship in our country. I therefore appeal to freight forwarding practitioners to exercise restraint and cooperate with the government authority to broker the unrest for the peace of the ports.
Dialogue, consultation and communication are the ways going forward in conflict resolution other than violence. It is also very important that terminal operators should always seek approval of increase in charges from the appropriate authority in the transportation ministry and due consultation with the stakeholders. We share their difficulties like any other in Nigeria,” he said.
He also harped on the need for the two leading freight forwarding associations, the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) and NAGAFF to work together to promote peace and harmony in the maritime industry.
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