The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has directed shipping companies to suspend demurrage charges with effect from March 30, 2020.
A release issued by the management of the NSC and signed by its deputy director, public relations, Mrs Rakiya Zubairu, says suspension of demurrage during the period of lockdown aimed at containing the spread of coronavirus is an incentive for owners of cargo to accelerate the process of taking delivery of their cargo.
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The statement made available to Eyeway this Friday reads:
In line with the presidential directive that port operations are essential services, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has been monitoring activities to ensure that seaports run efficiently and smoothly within the present circumstances, and in compliance with the existing health and safety guidelines for the prevention and containment of the spread of COVID-19
During the daily monitoring exercise, it was observed that some shippers, through no fault of theirs, are unable to take delivery of their cargo because of lack of public transportation, inadequate banking services and limited service providers due to reduced workforce etc.
Based on the foregoing, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council has directed shipping companies to suspend demurrage charges during the period of the COVID-19 lockdown with effect from 30th March 2020. This strictly applies to cargo that was discharged at the terminals from the 30th of March 2020.
To this end, demurrage charges during this period should be refunded to the consignee or his authorized agent. Suspension of demurrage during this period is an incentive for owners of cargo to accelerate the process of taking delivery of their cargo. This suspension of demurrage charges is not an excuse to delay or abandon cargo at the ports. Erring shippers will be sanctioned in addition to having to pay the demurrage due on their cargoes.
Barr. Hassan Bello is the executive secretary and CEO of the NSC.