The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has urged haulage operators to reduce their freight rates and decongest seaports across the country. The Executive Secretary of the NSC, Mr Hassan Bello, in a meeting with truck owners operating under the Council of Maritime Truck Union and Association (COMTUA) umbrella, said that truck owners should contribute to the sustainability of Nigeria’s economy during the current Covid-19 pandemic.
Bello said, ‘We are here to discuss the issue of costs. NSC has [brought] out indicative freight rates for guidance though we are not directing you to obey that, but what we are doing is what is obtainable anywhere in the world. We can’t continue to have price differentials at [the] whims and caprices of the owners. There must be some guidelines on freight rates just like we are doing with shipping companies, terminal operators and consolidators’.
‘Everyone must have a price regime, and we are not fixing the price. We are leaving that to demand and supply, but we say there must be some limit because shippers abroad, every day, make enquiries but we are at a loss because [there is] no standard [or] indicative rate. We want you to help us to have a standard rate so that there will be competition’, the NSC Executive Secretary continued.
Bello acknowledged that a rate reduction would be a sacrifice on the part of truck owners, and said that the NSC will engage the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on reducing the charges paid by truck owners.
The NSC Executive Secretary said, ‘We want you to look at the costs because everyone is making a sacrifice. The terminal operators, shipping companies have made sacrifices and we are looking at NPA and NIMASA so that they will reduce their costs during this time, as their contributions to the Nigerian economy. Please don’t allow Nigeria’s economy to [come to] a standstill, and after the Covid-19 [pandemic] we do not want it to be [said] that it [was] owners of trucks that let the nation down’.
In a related development, the NSC and NPA said that they had secured a rent-free storage period for importers and that haulage operators should therefore ensure the movement of cargo out of the ports as a show of good faith.
Source: This Day
Photo source: Adedotun Ajibade