Off-Dock Transfers: Shippers Council Warns Shipping Companies, Terminal Operators Against Arbitrary Charges

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The Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) Tuesday warned shipping companies, terminal operators and off-dock terminals against imposition of arbitrary levies of container demurrage, storage and transfer charges on innocent consignees.
The council said such levies are imposed on the shippers for transportation of cargoes to off-dock terminals unilaterally initiated by terminals without the consignees’ consent, adding that this was wrong.
In a statement by the Head of Public Relations, Mrs Rakiya Zubairo, the Council said that those imposing such levies should note that based on international standard and recognised practice, freight paid at origin covers movement of cargo to final port of delivery at destination.

The statement further reads: “It follows therefore, that cargoes earmarked for transfer to off-dock terminals, at the request of the shipping company, seaport terminal operator or off-dock terminal, without the consent of the consignees or their authorized representatives, should not attract charge(s) against the consignees”.

The ports economic regulator said such act from the service providers was “unethical and unwholesome”.

The Council said it has resolved that all service providers must be guided as follows:

“1. Import cargoes should be delivered to the nominated port of destination as stated in the Bill of Lading;

“2. Where the operational convenience of the seaport terminals or some other prevailing circumstances necessitate the transfer of cargoes from the seaport terminals to off-dock terminals, the concerned consignees or their authorized agents must be notified in good time, and must not be charged the cost associated with such transfer, including barging cost;

“3. Storage and demurrage charges on cargoes earmarked for transfer from seaport terminals to off-dock terminals, without the consent of the consignee, should take effect only after arriving at the designated off-dock terminals.

“Consequently, all transfer charges collected from consignees of cargoes transferred from seaport terminals to off-dock terminals, from 1st June 2020 to date, at the instance of the shipping companies/agencies, seaport terminal operators or off-dock terminal operators, without the consignees requesting for such transfer, must be refunded to the consignees immediately. Failure to refund such charges will lead to the Council invoking its regulatory powers to enforce compliance”.


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