The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has threatened to withdraw services from the country’s ports following allegations of extortion by agency officials. A letter of NAGAFF complaint issued from Office of the National Coordinator 100% Compliance Team, has already been sent to the Minister of Transportation, all Customs Area Comptrollers, AIG Maritime Police, Commissioner of Police Western Ports, Nigerian Shippers Council, Nigerian Ports Authority, Directors of DSS/Apapa Tin Can Island and Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Agency. Others are Registrar CRFFN, President ANLCA, Chairmen of NARTO, AMARTO, COTOAN, United Truckers and Council of Managing Directors’ among others.
The letter detailing withdrawal of service from November 10, 2021 and addressed to all maritime and shipping agencies, detailed numerous complaints that include; depletion of container deposits refunds, undue debits on equipment detention and causing disputes between transporters and clients. Others are, extortion of transporters to tune of N150, 000(One hundred and fifty thousand naira) before unloading of empty containers, while such levies are passed on to freight forwarders before their container cards are released. Further allegations include, inability to raise invoices, transmitting TDO’s thereby forcing members to lose millions of naira daily and deceitful demands of importer account/extortion before release of invoices. Further accusations include illegal demand of importer account before release of invoices, transfer of containers against consignees wish, consent or approval. The organisation alleged that this is a dubious move aimed at extorting money, thereby forcing member to lose more than N50,000,000 daily, even as it takes several weeks before eventual transfer.
Moreover, they frowned at illegal transfer of charges by the agency against the directives of Nigerian Shippers Council, even as such charges are debited against consignees.
“We consider this as disrespectful to constituted regulatory authority and must be discontinued,” it said.
Resulting from such negligence and lack of installed capacity, the freight forwarders lamented that they are levied undue equipment detention charges ranging from N200,000 per 1x40ft andN100, 000 per 1x20ft in excess of more than 1,000 containers per day.
“Our transporters should be paid compensation for using personal trucks as holding bays for several days and weeks,” it stated.
The body said that they no longer will allow themselves to be induced or coerced into arresting transporters for any misunderstanding on missing containers, as it accused the shipping lines for lack of interest in the welfare of their members and the country. It further accused the shipping agencies of lacking commensurate investment in Nigeria as most of them still operate from rented buildings.