Maersk breaks ranks and drops Nigerian peak season surcharge
DENMARK's Maersk Line, the world's biggest container carrier has broken ranks with the European Community Shippers Association (ECSA) and scrapped the peak season surcharge imposed on inbound cargo
DENMARK's Maersk Line, the world's biggest container carrier has broken ranks with the European Community Shippers Association (ECSA) and scrapped the peak season surcharge imposed on inbound cargo.
Orders came in from Copenhagen headquarters instructing its commercial department to stop applying the peak season surcharge (PSS), reported the Lagos daily, This Day.
However, other major shipping firms such as Cosco, MSC, CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd and Evergreen have yet to announce their decision on the matter.
The Union of African Shippers' Council (UASC), subsequently backed National Shippers Council (NSC) calls for the immediate suspension of the surcharge, calling it a violation of previous UASC/European Community Shipowners Association (ECSA) agreement.
The 2020 peak period charges of between US$1,000 and $1,500 per TEU by shipping firms, is over 400 per cent increase from the previous $200 per TEU during peak period.
In a letter, Maersk Nigeria managing director Lara Lana said 'our principals in our head office have informed us of your letter with subject reference increase in peak season surcharge. We would like to thank you for the supporting document you shared, shedding light on the meeting between the ECSA and UASC.'
Led by the NSC, the OPS, under the aegis of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Nigerian Association of Chamber of Commerce Industry Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), and major stakeholders in the shipping community, had met in Lagos recently to form a common front to resist the arbitrary charges.
This followed a letter written to the European Community Shippers Association (ECSA) by the NSC on behalf of the Nigerian government, describing the surcharges as economic sabotage.
The letter expressed worry that the surcharge was introduced at a time when the nation was trying to get out of the economic impact of the Covid crisis.
The charges, it said, would lead to a spiral inflation rate on the economy, adding that 'cargoes will be abandoned at the ports. It means job losses and many shippers will be put out of business.'
The charges, he said, were 'astronomic, unjustified, not notified and discriminatory. This is against fair trade facilitation rules.'