Stakeholders operating at the Tincan Island Port have lamented the 45 percent increase in the cargo handling charge introduced by the Management of the Ports & Terminal Multiservices Limited, PTML, even as it was done without adequate stakeholders engagement as required by law.
Primetime Reporters gathered that PTML management had late last month issued a notice to it customers announcing increment in its handling charges by 1st July, 2023 citing surging inflation, devaluation of Naira as well as petroleum subsidy removal which it said led to increased cost of operation as reason for the increment.
Speaking on the development, the Managing Director of Gold Link Investment Limited, Sir Tony Anakebe admitted that some terminal operators have readjusted their handling charges, at least, marginally by five to six percent while some of them who had not done so were still planning to readjust their charges.
“The terminal operators and shipping companies are killing Nigerians with their charges”, he added.
On his part, the Chairman of the Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria, APFFLON Mr. Darrick Jude Ige observed that in keeping with its notice, the PTML management had jacked up its handling charges by 45 percent which he said is bitting hard not only on the importers but also on the freight forwarders and the consuming public as the importers would eventually transfer the cost of clearing to the final price of the goods in the market.
“Assuming they were collecting N1.5 million before for face duty, it will be jacked up to N2.1 million or N2.2 million and the charge will continue to add each day until you take delivery of the consignment. It is called progressive charge and each of the five days, the charge increases. If they charge N2,500 this week, by next week, they will charge N5,000 and by the following week, it will increase to N7,500 until when it gets to about 20 day before it will now be at a stable charge until you evacuate your good.
“The notice we saw was within five days to July 1st. We are still looking for a way to dialogue with them and see how they can review the charge because from N5,000 earlier charged on non starting vehicles, they now jacked it up to N50,000. Is it normal? Without consulting the stakeholders. It is too outrageous!
“Even before the increase in exchange rate, there has been an argument on this N50,000 increment for the past two to three months. So, they now use the opportunity of this increment in exchange rate to jack up but if they jack up only their charges, it would have been understandable but why the increase from N5,000 to N50,000?”, Ige queried.
He, however, told this medium that the leadership of the freight forwarding associations operating at the terminal were mobilizing themselves for a meeting with the management of PTML for a possible downward review of the increment.
“No matter how the margin of increment, nobody will be comfortable with it even if it is one naira but in all, we will sit down with them and see how to resolve it. However, we have no plans to protest because we believe that there will be a headway”, he stated.
Also speaking, another Chieftain of APFFLON, Mr. Godfrey Emeka Nwosu hinted that the increment was only effected at the PTML for now as according to him, others were yet to effect any increment in their handling charges.
“Mind you, they were the ones that announced this increment in their handling charges by 1st of July. Other terminal operators did not say anything about it but I know how it works here, once one successfully jacked up charges, others will follow. So, we should not expect anything short of uniform increment by these terminal operators.
“Looking at the invoice, handling charges of about N90,000 is now getting close to N130,000. Before now, handling charges for PTML or for instance Port & Cargo, you see 1×40 footer container paying N130,000 as handling charges but now it is something up to N160,000 to N170,000”, he submitted.
Lamenting lack of stakeholders engagement before increment as required by law, he said, “Today in this industry, we wake up in the morning and read in the papers about increment, change of policies without any consultation. This recent increment in the Central Bank rate for duty payment was implemented without consulting anyone . We woke up to be informed that there is an increment in the exchange rate which has now affected duty rate. Nobody was consulted. They no longer find a reason to consult the stakeholders. All they will do is to serve you paper notice.
“Like what they did recently, it was in the news that we read that from the 1st of July, 2023 handling charges will be increased by 45 percent. That is the only way they communicate with us”, he added.
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