Freight forwarders in Nigeria have threatened to go on strike over claims of extortion by shipping companies operating in Nigeria’s ports.

This was disclosed in a statement by the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), in a letter addressed to all the shipping companies on Thursday, as reported by the News Agency of Nigeria.

The letter was signed by the National Coordinator of the NAGAFF 100% Compliance Team, Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko, and he says it will serve as a notification ahead of their strike if the issues are not resolved.

What they said

“The shipping companies engage in unnecessary extortions of our transporters for up to N150,000 before dropping empty containers which are then passed back to us before returning our container cards,” he said.

The association cited issues including the depletion of container deposit refunds, undue debits on equipment detention which brings the Customs brokers into a collision course with their transporters and principals.

“We are also being subjected to incessant network issues which lead to inability to raise invoices and transmit TDOs to which we lose not less than N10 million per day.

“The shipping companies also engage in deceitful demand of opening of importer account/extortions before releasing invoice,” he added.

He revealed that freight forwarders are losing N50 million daily to the willful transfer of containers against the wish, consent or approval of consignees; and are also subjected to illegal transfer charges against the directives of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council.

He added that as a result of their negligence or lack of capacity, the shipping companies foist on them undue equipment detention charges ranging from N200,000 per 1/40ft and N100,000 per 1/20ft multiplied by 1,000 containers. They have therefore issued a two-week ultimatum for their grievances to be addressed.

“Against this background, we wish to notify you that from October 25 to Nov. 10, if these issues raised above are not properly addressed, we will withdraw our services,” Tanko warned.

He also stated that the letter addressed to all the shipping companies was also copied to all the government agencies, security agencies and other stakeholders.