The organised private sector, which includes manufacturers, importers and clearing agents, have said they will resist moves by terminal operators and shipping companies to demand demurrage and storage charges on goods that arrived at the Lagos ports during the 14 days #EndSARS protest.
In a letter of appeal, the National Coordinator of 100% Compliance Team of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko, addressed to the Managing Director of Maersk Line Nigeria Ltd, said any effort to slam the charges on the trapped goods inside the ports would be resisted.
The letter reads in part: “Following the #EndSARS Nigerian youths protest which has lasted for more than a week now; the NAGAFF 100% Compliance Team wishes to appeal to shipping companies and terminal operators in Lagos not to charge demurrage or storage fees on cargos trapped inside the ports
“It has come to our knowledge that some shipping companies and terminal operators have already started charging storage and demurrage for this period without recourse to consideration like safety of lives and property.
“We will mobilise in a most civil manner other associations, truck owners, clearing agents and port users in a placard-carrying protest against this impunity and block the ports’ access gates and entrances until our demands are met.”
The Vice President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Kayode Farinto, also lent his voice to the issue, saying, “What happened was beyond anybody’s control. The protest led to a breakdown of law and order, and the Lagos State Government had to impose a movement restriction. So under such circumstances, nobody could come to the ports to clear cargos.
“Even the ports were shut down. If the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) head office in Marina could be torched by hoodlums, then we expect the shipping companies and terminal operators to understand what happened all through last week.”