Just as freight forwarding groups recently endorsed an upward review of handling charges by the Ports and Terminals Multiservices Limited (PTML), the Congregation of Freight Forwarding Practitioners of Nigeria (CRFFPON) has faulted the approach adopted by the management of PTML for an upward review of its handling charges describing it as bait for other terminal operators to follow shortly.
CREFFPON, in a statement on Saturday by its Administrator, Mr. Edwin Chukwudire Obi, reminded the management of PTML of the existence of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) and the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) enabling legislative instruments adding that such intention and decision called for carefulness as according to it, once the association leaders have succeeded in breaching the laid down port charges review processes for PTML (by way of succumbing to its earlier seeming intimidation), then a bad and terrible precedent has been set forth for others to follow in a shortest while.
It equally reminded the chapter leadership that those terminal operators supposedly foreign investors were in a league (association) in Nigeria to promote their profit interests over and above industry interest even as it insisted that it had never been the duty or the tradition for the freight forwarding leaders to negotiate the increase in port charges without recourse to or amply undermining due process.
CREFFPON argued that if such meeting was aimed to galvanized tactical supports prior to the revisit or intervention of the economic regulator on the proposed increments, which procedurally should be accompanied by a notice, then needless making the meeting at this point public as it would amount to pre-empting a decision.
“Therefore, CRFFPON believes that our chapter leaders should have known better and not to implicate themselves by accepting a 50% increments on charges without due consultations to the appropriate bodies of the trading public and legislative organ saddled with such tasks and as such must be duly guided at all times.
“Indeed, CREFFPON appreciates the fact that the PTML operator unlike most other terminal operators renders a one stop shop cargo clearance process but the effectiveness of the service must be in line with a realistic consumer price index so as to avoid uncontrollable extortion thereafter. The negative impact of port charges on the consuming public must be taken into consideration at all times. As such our actions and inactions are apt in this regards.
“CREFFPON hereby opine that such meeting the leadership had with the management may be strategic to salvage the unforeseen but it should have been at the instance of the Shippers’ Council as laid down in the concession agreements. Leadership must not be innocently used to perpetuate industry extortion in the name of mitigating industry high-handedness.
“CREFFPON will like to reaffirm that increment in port charges is done with consideration to critical variables to determine measurable cost functions in line with the specifics of the consumer price index”, it stated.
The group, however, called on the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) which doubles as the port’s economic regulator to rise up to its regulatory obligations and act swiftly “to avert industry nuisance timely, except if it is giving tactical support from the rear by way of compromising its functions.”
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