…Seek two days waiver on demurrage
Freight Forwarders operating at the Lagos ports, particularly the Tincan Island Port has lamented the shut down of the Tincan Island Container Terminal, TICT by the Management to observe the two days public holiday declared by the federal government to mark the 2023 Eid-el-Kabir festival.
Primetime Reporters gathered that the management of the terminal through one Mr. Patrick, yesterday evening issued a notice informing freight forwarders and stakeholders that the terminal will be shut down on Wednesday (today) and tomorrow during which the terminal would not issue Terminal Delivery Order, TDO to licensed customs agents whose jobs were awaiting delivery at the terminal.
Speaking in an interview with our correspondent, the Chairman, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, NAGAFF, Kirikiri Lighter Terminal, KLT, Engr. Emmanuel Umeadi recalled that the port is an essential service provider which should not be shut down because of public holiday adding that the development was an aberration.
Umeadi, however, opined that if the TICT management, on its own volition chose to so close the terminal for two days to observe the Eid-el-Kabir festival, it should not bother to push the importers and their agents to the wall by asking them to pay for demurrage for the number of days that they shut down the terminal without any tangible reason to do so.
“If TICT has decided through its staff, Mr. Patrick, to shut down the terminal, the associations are asking for a two day waiver since they are not working, because they cannot be on holiday and the management is not printing TDO and expect customers to pay.
“Ideally, if the company is on holiday, it should not collect demurrage. These demurrages run into millions of Naira. So, the associations are seeing it as fraud. They sent an official letter that they will not work today and tomorrow, even though it was sent out very late. Issuing an official notice and turning around to ask for demurrage is fraud. So, you can’t issue an official notice and still demand for demurrage from the customers when you shut down the terminal by yourself.
“We are asking TICT to call Mr. Patrick to order because it has never happened before even during the Christmas period, the terminal worked and TDOs printed. This is happening at this time because TICT may have hired someone who does not have experience with facilitation of trade.
“We the associations are asking TICT to look into this or we embark on a peaceful protest because they are pushing us to the wall by forcing us to pay for services not rendered. Even before now, no port has been closed on holidays or during festivals. For Mr. Patrick of TICT to say that no TDO will be printed on a public holiday means he is not experienced on the job”, he said.
While accusing the said Mr. Patrick of being nepotistic by choosing those he works for, the NAGAFF Chairman further alleged that “as early as 4pm on Tuesday, he has pushed everyone out as if they are slaves and closed for the day with a directive that no TDO will be written today.”
He, therefore, put the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, NSC, the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria, CRFFN and other relevant agencies on notice about this act by the Management of TICT urging them not to allow them take laws in their own hands and add to the sufferings already being encountered by Nigerians this period.
Photo: Engr. Emmanuel Umeadi, Chairman, NAGAFF, KLT chapter.
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