In a significant development, the Federal Government, acting through the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), has made sweeping changes to port charges and cargo storage policies that aim to foster more flexibility for shippers and streamline costs. This move came after a high-stakes meeting attended by the leadership of the Council, seaport terminal operators, shipping companies, freight forwarders, and other relevant stakeholders.
The focal point of this transformation is a substantial 33% reduction in port terminal charges, which were previously slated for an astronomical increase ranging from 400% to 600% of storage costs. This reduction signifies a commitment to strike a balance between the needs of terminal operators and the shippers who rely on their services. It is a clear step toward ensuring fairness in the logistics landscape.
However, it’s essential to note that not all charges experienced cuts. Bulk cargo charges, for instance, were subject to a 100% increase, rising from 125% to 250%. This change reflects the evolving dynamics of the industry and aims to guarantee equitable compensation for the range of services provided.
The adjustments weren’t limited to charges alone; they also extended to the duration of cargo storage at terminals. The number of free days for cargo storage was upped from three days to five days. This extension offers shippers greater flexibility in their operations, ultimately helping to cut costs and enhance their experience within the port environment.
Rekiya Dhikru-Yagboyaju, the Director of the Public Relations Unit of the Nigerian Shippers Council, confirmed these developments. She highlighted that the revisions made by the government and stakeholders underscore the commitment to addressing the concerns and interests of all involved parties.
A statement released at the conclusion of the meeting outlined key resolutions. It stated, “Break bulk cargo charges have been increased from 125 per cent to 250 per cent. This adjustment reflects the changing dynamics of the industry and ensures fair compensation for services provided.”
Additionally, the statement assured that complaints about inefficiencies among terminal operators would be swiftly addressed. This commitment is a clear step toward enhancing overall operations and bolstering customer satisfaction within the maritime industry.
These changes mark a critical step in shaping the landscape of Nigeria’s ports and the logistics sector. They reflect the government’s intention to support both shippers and terminal operators by ensuring a more balanced and efficient system. The decisions reached in this meeting are expected to contribute significantly to the country’s maritime trade environment. As a result, Nigeria’s ports are set to undergo a transformation that aims to improve the experience of shippers and foster greater economic efficiency.