…Describes action as needless
The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has condemned the last withdrawal of service by the Freight Forwarders operating at Apapa Port against the AP Moller terminals (APMT) and ENL terminals describing it as a needless exercise.
Recall that the Freight Forwarders operating at the Apapa Port under the aegis of Joint Associations Committee comprising of four freight forwarding associations and a trucking association last month embarked on a twelve days withdrawal of service to protest what they called arbitrary charges by the authorities of the terminals.
In a press statement issued on Monday by the association and signed by the National Public Relations Officer, Mr. Simeon Nwonu, the association contended that the alleged complaint against APMT operations was not peculiar to Apapa ports.
It further went ahead to state that the issue of arbitrary charges was a matter that affected almost all the terminal operators in the Nigerian ports which according to the association was presently being handled by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council as the Commercial regulator.
“We are aware that a case is pending at the High Court between the terminal operators and the Nigerian Shippers’ Council with regards to arbitrary Charges. In a civilized society where the rule of law is observed, there was no reason for the strike because it is in contempt. This is aside the fact that NSC issued a letter to all the stakeholders to the effect that there is no need for strike since a similar matter is pending in Court”.
“It is our belief that he who goes to equity must come with clean hands. AP Moller is a world class terminal operator and an investor in Nigeria that requires the support and protection in our country. If the agency of government that had the schedule to administer our ports had performed well, it is obvious that our ports may not have been concessioned. Shame on us”, the statement partly read.
NAGAFF recalled that it was by the grace of God and with the help of the freight forwarders that the Nigeria Customs service retrieved their statutory function from the service providers after several years of battle hoping that the Nigerian Ports Authority would take advantage using their over sight function duty to ensure that the Nation’s ports were friendly and competitive adding that the essence and primary objective of concession was to bring about efficiency, competitiveness and reduction of cost.
It said,” it is most unfortunate that human element regulations, disregard for rule of law and inadequate handling equipment are the bane of our port operations”.
“It is our view that the last strike in Apapa port was a needless one. We advocate that Nigerian Shippers’ Council be allowed to conclude the ongoing court processes with the terminal operators to resolve the issue of arbitrary charges and other incidentals”.
“The statement credited to some of the associations that APMT is not observing the memo of understanding with the stakeholders over the last strike does not hold facts because it is not true. Accordingly, all NAGAFF members are hereby directed to exercise restraint in any matter leading to the closure of the port without exhausting all amicable avenues with the authority”.