The Nigerian Shippers' Council (NSC) and stakeholders in the port industry yesterday said they were set to counter the ever rising cost of doing business in Nigerian ports.
Demurrage and storage charges by shipping lines and terminal operators are said to be on the high side compared to ports in other West African countries, amidst multiple charges.
Speaking to journalists after a closed-door meeting held with the various freight forwarding associations, terminal operators and shipping companies yesterday, the NSC Executive Secretary, Barrister Hassan Bello, expressed the Council's readiness to improve the operational performance of the ports industry with a view to making it more cost effective.
He stated that the Council was ready to ensure that arbitrary charges by shipping companies was eliminated.
The NSC boss, who is vexed in Carriage Regime said the Council was set to begin the enforcement of the laws that empowers it to regulate shipping charges in the Nigerian ports, adding that any shipping company or terminal operator found wanting would be sanctioned.
"There is a general consensus that port charges are still on the high side despite the concession exercise. Studies carried out also support the fact that costs have continued to escalate while patronage of neighbouring ports by Nigerian shippers continue to increase thus, denying the federal government much needed revenue from the port industry. These are challenges that must be addressed with determination and commitment on the part of all stakeholders in the industry," he said.
He noted that increasing the quality of services in the ports system would not only bring down cost, but would also give Nigerian ports the competitive edge among other ports in the sub- region.
Bello lamented that despite the Council's effort in protecting shippers' interest by ensuring that cargoes were delivered timely and at a justifiable charge, the numbers of complaints from port users had continued to increase.