Glory Shipping, 4 others sue TICT over demurrage charges, claim N5m damages


Glory Shipping Agency Limited, Uba Sylvester, Nwaofor Ben, Iheobom Chijioke Reginald and Faniz galaxy investment Limited have sued the Management of the Tincan Island Container Terminal (TICT) for imposing what it called a painful and overcharging demurrage of 17 days amounting to the sum of N158, 960.00 (One Hundred and Fifty-Eight Thousand, Nine Hundred and Sixty Naira) for a delay that was caused by them.

The five who are the plaintiffs in the matter, in their statement of claim recalled that upon the arrival of their consignments on 14th August 2015, they promptly took steps to clear their goods but the terminal’s management which is the defendant frustrated their efforts under the guise that for want of space, the terminal operator needed to transfer the consignments to another terminal where they could go and clear their goods.

The Plaintiffs averred that subsequently, the defendant transferred their consignments to one Bollore logistics Nigeria limited, another private terminal of their own choice adding that the defendant did the so called transfer entirely on their own without informing the plaintiffs of the time, date or destination they were transferring the plaintiffs’ consignment s to.

The claimants posited that it was with diligence and experience that they were able to trace their consignments to Bollore Nig. Ltd even as they claimed that the defendant did not bother tendering any apology because they were used to cheating and maltreatment of the public in this way.

They noted that they cleared their consignments immediately and took delivery of their consignments on September 2nd, 2015 saying that they were shocked to notice that the defendants imposed a painful and overcharging demurrage of 17 days, amounting to the sum of N158, 960 (One Hundred and Fifty-Eight Thousand, Nine Hundred and Sixty Naira) for a delay that was caused by the defendant.

They provided that by records, it was crystal clear and unequivocal that the defendant transferred the consignments to Bollore logistics Nig. Ltd. During the night hours of the 20th day of August, 2015 and that by law and practice, they were entitled to at least 3 days of grace from the date of arrival of their consignments at the discharge terminal before demurrage could be calculated, arguing that it was grossly wrong to count the 3 days of grace from the date of arrival.

According to the statement of claims,” The Plaintiffs aver that assuming the Defendant informed the Plaintiffs of the date the defendant would conclude the transfer as well as the new location the defendant was transferring the consignments to, then the 3 days of grace would have ordinarily started counting from 21st-23rd of August, 2015.

“The Plaintiffs aver that in view of the inadvertence of the defendant, the plaintiffs cannot be held responsible for the payment of demurrage arising out of delays deliberately occasioned by the defendant.

“The Plaintiffs aver that given the circumstance, the Plaintiffs are entitled to an immediate refund of the sum of N158, 960 (One Hundred and Fifty-Eight Thousand, Nine Hundred and Sixty Naira) being the sum total of demurrage paid by our clients to you on the above name consignments.

“The Plaintiffs aver that through their lawyers, KC Joshua & Co., the Claimants wrote series of letters to the defendant for the refund of the N158, 960 (One Hundred and Fifty-Eight Thousand, Nine Hundred and Sixty Naira) but the defendant refused and thus this litigation”.

The claimants stated that they were entitled to a refund of the cost of this litigation as they were forced to court by the defendant on a matter adding that the cost of this litigation is N1, 000, 000 (One Million Naira.

They pointed out that the defendant started making mockery of the Claimants by asking them to supply impossible or irrelevant documents as a condition for refund saying that in furtherance of the defendant’s mockery of the plaintiffs, the defendant further said maliciously that even if they would refund, they will not pay by issuing cheque, any other means except direct payment to the consignees’ account.

“The 1st plaintiff aver that as authorized agent of the consignees, the 1st Plaintiffs is entitled to receive cheques or cash on behalf of the 2nd-5th plaintiffs just as they acted on behalf of same in making all necessary payments to the plaintiffs on behalf of the 2nd-5th plaintiffs. The plaintiffs aver that the defendant has no right to change the instruction or mandate of the consignees as given to their lawful agents.

“The Plaintiffs further aver that the defendant does not have the right to force the Plaintiffs to disclose its bank details as a condition for payment. The 1st plaintiff avers that it has lost its customers as a result of the defendant’s attitude and requires compensations for that. Whereupon the Plaintiffs jointly claim against the defendants as follows; Special Damages (a) N158, 960 (One Hundred and Fifty-Eight Thousand, Nine Hundred and Sixty Naira) being excess demurrage charged on defendants’ consignments. (b) N1, 000, 000 (One Million Naira) being the cost of this litigation. General Damages (c) N5, 000, 000 (Five million Naira) Exemplary Damages”, the statement said.

They however disclosed that the bill of laden of the overcharged consignments belonging to the 2nd-5th Plaintiffs respectively are as follows; ZIMUGOA351116, ZIMUGOA350961, ZIMUGOA350683 and ZIMUGOA351205.

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