The proliferation and lack strict regulation of shipping charges at the Nigerian ports have been blamed for the below expectation performance of the ports. According to the Union of African Shippers’ Council, UASC, the charges collected by the operators was discouraging shippers.
The union at a recent forum said that the charges have to be defined because it has discouraged importers and exporters from using Nigerian ports.
Chairman of the UASC, Dr. Kofi Mbian, who spoke at the validation colloquium of Rotterdam Rules, in Abuja called on the Transport Ministry to work with the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, (NSC) to address the problem.
The Council particularly advised the NSC and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) as the landlord of the ports to cancel the charges or reduce them for the benefit of shippers using the ports.
He identified terminal handling and container administration and others as capable of discouraging importers and exporters from using Nigerian ports, adding that the charges ought to be defined.
Mbian said any shipping charge or port charge needs to be predictable for the shippers.
He said, “This is because the cost of the various charges will be passed to the final consumers through increase in the prices of goods. The challenges are more practical nature in terms of what happens in the ports; there is the need to ensure that there is orderliness in the ports”.
“Stakeholders should dialogue with NSC, so that they can agree on rates and charges to ensure that shipping lines and other operators in the ports do not unduly charge importers and exporters”
“Presently, Nigeria is practicing the Hague-Visby Rules and the Hamburg Rules. So, there is a need for a more modern Convention which is the Rotterdam Rules that address the practical relatives of international trade.
“Today, we are using containers more than any other object for shipment and the legal regime that exists presently has not adequately addressed the issue of containers, The Rotterdam Rules will address the issue of container revolution,” he said