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Nigeria’s demurrage-free days at ports lowest among neighboring West, Central Africa

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Another angle frustrating ease of doing business at the Nigeria ports has been uncovered by the Business Hilights Economic Research Team (BHERT).

A new report it released weekend in Lagos, it said “All most all shipping companies operating in Lagos Ports are taking advantage of the limited free demurrage days which is five to bleed importers of billions of naira on a daily basis”.

On the demurrage fees across the West and Central Africa zone, the report placed side-by-side, Nigeria’s fees and others.

Shipping companies’ demurrage fees are as follows: First period N4,500 as against N1, 512 collected in Ghana, second period N7,500 as against N1,890 collected by Ghana and, third period 12,500 as against N1,890 in Ghana.

According to the Nigeria Shippers Council (NSC), Nigeria has five demurrage free days, which is low compared to neighbouring Benin Republic, which has ten demurrage-free days. Ghana, on the other hand, has eight demurrage-free days.

Besides, cargo dwell time (time to clear cargo) takes between 20 and 28 days in Nigerian ports, while in Benin Republic, it takes between10 and 15 days. For Ghana, it is between 12 and 14 days and Togo eight and 12 days.

It was gathered that importers who clear their goods from Nigerian ports, pay about 14 charges, while those that clear from off-dock terminals have 20 charges to pay before taking delivery of their consignments.

Whereas all the revenue agencies at the Nigeria ports have all claimed keying into the federal government ease of doing business policy, checks by Business Hilights tend to suggest deception and lip services as little or changes had been observed between end of first quarter and now.

Statistics from the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) showed that about 1,396,057 TEU of containers received at the Lagos Ports in 2013; 1,551,540 in 2014 and another 1,317,212 in 2015, importers and Shippers have lost over N100billion to Shipping companies in demurrage charges.

Pundits defined demurrage as the charge levied by the shipping line on the consignee if the container is not cleared and returned to the nominated empty depot within the specified free days offered by the line. Demurrage is divided into three periods -First, second and third -that is also far more expensive than others in the sub-region

Investigations have shown that no shippers or importers can clear it’s consignments out of the ports within the stipulated three days free period, thus meaning that every importer is technically forced to pay the exorbitant demurrage fees.