Earlier today, Senator Ifeanyi Ubah moved a motion on the urgent need to checkmate the exorbitant increase and unjustifiable shipping fees charged by shipping companies on Nigerian bound cargoes.
Noting that Nigeria is an import driven economy with excessive dependence on imports for consumption and capital goods, and that the shipping sector is key in facilitating the continuity of economic activities, ensuring supply chains to industries, transportation of essential goods, including energy and food supplies as well as transportation of vital medical and protective equipment in the country.
Furthermore, Senator Ubah raised concern over vessels that form long queues at the ports, as against other countries, which lasts 30 days before berthing.
He highlighted that the high cost of shipping goods into Nigerian ports places the country amongst the highest in the world. Senator Ubah declared that the figure for Apapa Port costs three times more than that of Tema, Ghana, and five times higher than that of Durban, South Africa.
He also expressed worry about a report on overseas cargo and freight costs by Mover DB; an online resource for international shipping which shows that the cost of shipping both 20-foot and 40-foot containers to Lagos is among the most expensive globally. The report covers the shipping costs from 47 ports globally; these astronomic and unjustifiable charges are so high that importers in most cases abandon their cargoes in the port thereby making the NPA lose revenue, hence reducing the efficiency/turnaround of ships to Nigerian ports.
Senator Ifeanyi Ubah gave an analytical explanation of the charges in other countries which shows;
Ghana – $3,200 from China
Cotonou – $3,000 from China
Nigeria – $8,500 from $3,200 few months ago.
He affirmed that this causes unjust hardship as importers transfer expenditure to both traders and consumers.
In his words: “The imposition of these exorbitant charges on Nigerian bound cargoes by shipping companies was introduced at a time when the nation is still trying to get out of the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
In closing, the Senator expressed worry that the arbitrary introduction of excessive charges will strangulate importers
“If we do not rise up and defend our nation from this economic sabotage, this development can cause a spiral inflation rate on our economy.”, he said.
Following the motion raised by Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, the Senate accordingly resolved to mandate the committee on Marine Transport to engage with the stakeholders in the Shipping Industry and Nigeria Ports Authority with a view to proffering lasting solutions to this matter.
The Senator hopes that the mandated committee and stakeholders will ensure holistic compliance of this directive and is resolved to follow up accordingly.