By G9ija

The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) is a seeking 14-day demureage-free period for containers from shipping companies.

The National Coordinator of the NAGAFF 100% Compliance Team, Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko, disclosed this to journlaists on Friday after a meeting to address the impasse between shipping companies and freight forwarders.

The meeting had in attendance the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Nigerian Shippers’Council (NSC), Council for the Regulating of Freight Forwarders in Nigeria (CRFFN) and representative of shipping companies.

Recall that freight forwarders recently threatened to withdraw their services from the nation’s seaports due to extortions and high handedness by shipping companies.

“The issue of withdrawal of service is still pending because there is no concrete agreement reached and our position still stands, we will withdraw from service on Nov.18 if nothing is done.

“On the container deposit issue, we lose a lot of money, N200,000 on 40ft container and N100,000 on 20ft container, and after losing this money, the shipping companies also debit us and they still receive their empty containers back.

“We are saying no to this. Our request is that the shipping companies should give us extra 14 days from the day the container leave the port till it is brought back, if we pass 14 days, then they can now charge us.

“This is our proposal and they said no to that,” Tanko said.

He said that the representative from the shipping companies agreed to wave six days but the problem was that they should be specific on when they want to start counting the waiver.

Tanko pointed out that they still had confidence with the three regulator present, NPA, shippers council and the CRFFN because they must have a solution to this problem, as they represent the government.

He disclosed that the body language of the representative of the shipping company was not too good and showed no commitment.

“Though we raised that issue, he adjusted and said that he will communicate with others and whatsoever is agreed on will be communicated to others,” he said.

Tanko said that he was shocked when the NPA representative said that that the authority issued shipping companies license for holding bay.

“We believe holding bay is supposed to come from shipping companies and that is what the law say, anybody that is running a shipping company must have a holding bay, but we do not know what is going on now.

“Our position now is that the issue is not from freight forwarders and so they should stop collecting this money from us,” he said.

Tanko noted that the five accredited associations in the industry had agreed to work together to achieve desired result.

“There should be no more division because people are enjoying on that division, especially between the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) and NAGAFF, the major association.

“There are some group of people that do not like this unity because of their personal interest.

“It is better for us to come together than being divided. We need to come together so that we can fight our course,” he said.