Agents set to picket Maerskline over waiver breaches at ports
Barring any last minute interventions, shipping giants, Maerskline, may have its office picketed by clearing agents from tomorrow, Thursday. This is because the shipping line has failed to abide by the Federal Government’s directive that all demurrages accumulated in the course of Covid-19 lockdown be waived by service providers in the ports.
Indication to this came in a chat THE POWERFUL PEN had with the Apapa Port Chapter Chairman of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Alhaji Isah Kazeem, yesterday in his office.
Kazeem expressed regrets that many service providers had failed to abide by the government directive, which was expressly conveyed to them.
Recall that Monday, over 100 members of NCMDLCA, led by their National President, Mr. Lucky Eyis Amiwero sealed the entrance gate of Tincan Island Container Terminal (TICT) in protest over its failure to comply with the waiver directive. Reprieve only came to the company when it later agreed to abide with the Federal Government’s order. The company accepted to grant waiver to all the affected cargoes for a period covering March 31 to May 4, 2020.
Alhaji Kazeem, who disclosed that other outfits like the APM Terminals, Apapa and CMA Shipping had been made to comply, hinted that his group would be meeting with Maerskline today Wednesday, on the matter. He was optimistic that the Danish firm would toe the part of reason by complying. He however, told THE POWERFUL PEN that should the company fail to do the needful, they would have no other choice than to picket it.
The gentle but assertive agents’ leader commended their sister associations in joining forces with the NCMDLCA initiative to compel the recalcitrant service providers to comply.
He noted that the benefit from the move was not for his group members alone but the entire Nigerians, who always bore the brunt of high cost of goods instigated by illegalities in the ports.
He commended the leadership of the NCMDLCA for its proactive stance on issues. Kazeem pointed out that the group wrote to the Presidency on the matter, which he said expressly ordered for the waivers be granted since the pandemic was not caused by the agents nor the importers.
He therefore admonished stakeholders in the industry to always play by the rules and abide by government policies.