• News - South South - Rivers
  • Updated: April 11, 2024

Eastern port stakeholders threaten shutdown over haulage rate hike

Eastern port stakeholders threaten shutdown over haulage rat

Importers and exporters operating at the Eastern ports of the country have expressed concern over an alleged 200 per cent increase in the haulage rate by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), fearing its impact on inflation.

Threatening an operational shutdown, they issued a seven-day ultimatum demanding the NSC to revert to the previous rate. 

Speaking to journalists in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, Joshua Ahuama, the zonal coordinator of the Association of Nigerian Customs Licensed Agents (ANLCA), emphasized the importance of stakeholder consultation, asserting that the new rate contradicts the provisions of the NSC Act.

Ahuama said, “Recently, the NSC approved a 200 per cent increment in haulage rate for transport owners and drivers operating under the Maritime Union of Nigeria. To this end, importers and freight forwarders associations in the eastern zone have unanimously disputed the new rate because it is outrageous, arbitrary, and unacceptable to all stakeholders in the zone.

“We have, however, resolved to adopt all peaceful efforts. We started this move on March 14 by calling on the NSC to ensure proper stakeholder engagement and renegotiation. These measures are also expected to help all parties to reach a benchmark that would be in the interest of all stakeholders in the maritime value chain.”

He added, “We also urge the NSC to return to status quo by suspending the implementation of the disputed rate, pending proper renegotiation covering the interest of all stakeholders.

“We are not on a selfish course. Our demands are in the interest of Nigerians because any slight increase in the haulage rate will reflect on the prices of goods in the open market. A businessman incorporates total logistic costs into the prices of goods.”

However, the group said they might be constrained to take drastic measures, including suspending all declarations of goods and payments of customs duties, which could negatively affect national revenue and economic output.

Some members of the import and export associations present at the meeting included the Nigeria Shippers Association, the Aba International Traders Association, the Ultimate Importers Association, the POP Importers Association, the the Nnewi Importers Association, and the the Onitsha Importers Association. 

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