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Shipping Companies Risk Sanction for Over-billing Importers, Exporters

The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) weekend sounded a fresh note of warning to shipping companies and some service providers that circumvent the law by either over-billing shippers on demurrage charges or indulging in the indiscriminate imposition of illegal charges.

This is just as the ports economic regulator said its field officers monitor such incidences against importers, exporters and will take appropriate action to stop the perpetrators.

Executive Secretary of the NSC, Hassan Bello who was reacting to the recent case of over-billing of a shipper, Sunflag Steel Limited to the tune of $23,000.00 (N8.280 million) on demurrage charges by Cosco Shipping Company said this was not good for trade facilitation.

Bello said that while the Council was always out to create an enduring peace among service providers, it would not tolerate a situation in which shipping companies or terminal operators decide to cunningly defraud shippers through some forms of over-billing.

He noted that this was not good for the national economy, adding that service providers should abide by the rules guiding trade.

Bello described over-billing as a serious trade crime that should not be encouraged in the interest of the national economy and individual companies affected.

The NSC boss said that the council with what happened in the case of  Sunflag Steel Limited, will not spare any company found to be involved in such unlawful act.

The Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement Division of the NCS had recovered the sum of $23,000.00 from Cosco Shipping Company as overbilling demurrage charges for Sunflag Steel Limited.

The Deputy Director, Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement Division at the MSC, Cajetan  Agu,  recently led the team that sealed off the premises of the shipping company in Apapa Lagos, for over three hours.

Cosco Shipping was accused of failing to comply with an earlier reached agreement at a tripartite meeting held at the NSC Headquarters, Apapa, Lagos.

The company later agreed to issue two cheques to settle the $23,000.00 as over-billing.

The company had signed an undertaken to pay the money before its premises were opened for transactions.

The Group Managing Director of Comet Shipping, Mr P. L. Carrodano, who was in the same premises with Cosco Shipping had pleaded with the Shippers’ Council team for amicable resolution of the problem.

The management of Sunflag Steel Limited was very grateful to the council for getting back the unpaid overbilling demurrage on some containers.

The containers numbers are: COSU6108566580 (24X40 FT), COSU6108566581 (13X4 FT) and COSU6108566582 (2X40 FT), were paid for by their customer in Ghana.

  • This article first appeared on Thisday


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