Jonathan Nicol, the General Secretary of Shippers Association of Lagos State, on Tuesday said that port operators would protest demurrage charges by shipping companies for the recent six-day nationwide strike.
Mr. Nicol told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that importers were surprised to find that the shipping companies were charging demurrage for the six-day strike against the removal of petrol subsidy, which shut the ports.
NAN reports that the threat from shippers is coming after the nationwide strike was called off on Monday by organised labour.
“They want to start unrest in the maritime industry. It is going to be a big one because all maritime practitioners will be involved,’’ Mr. Nicol said.
He said that the shipping companies were insisting on the demurrage because they claimed they also paid owners of vessels.
“This action may stir up unrest within the maritime sector.
“The Minister of Transport should call the shipping companies to order because, normally after strike or public holiday, importers don’t pay demurrage,’’ he said.
Mr. Nicol said that the strike was beyond the shippers, adding that shippers should not pay for a national incident like strike or public holiday.
Olayiwola Shittu, the President of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), also warned shipping companies and terminal operators not to charge demurrage or rent during the period of the strike.
“Let me seize this opportunity to put on notice shipping companies and terminal operators that they should not charge a dime as demurrage or rents during the period of the strike.
“It would be regarded as Force Majeure,’’ NAN quotes Mr. Shittu as saying.
NAN reports that cargoes attract demurrage of N750 per day for a 20-foot container and N1,500 for a 40-foot container after the first three days at the port.
After six days of arrival of a cargo, the demurrage is N4,000 per day for a 20-foot container and N8,000 for a 40-foot container.