Importers to pay additional charges on haulage at seaports from April

EFFECT from April 1, 2017, importers are to pay the revised haulage rate approved today by the Joint Council of Seaport Truck Operators (JCOST) for the Lagos seaports.

The new rates within Lagos State range from N80,000 to N150,000 for general cargo, N60,000 to N140,000 for 1×20, N100,000 to N170,000 for 2×20, and N80,000 to N140,000 for 1×40, while for upcountry, the rate varies according to distance.

More so, the general JCOST body adopted a 50 per cent demurrage of containers payable to the truck operators, who are also to earn “25 per cent of the initial payment for return of empty containers to stem assaults in the business,” while the trucker is free to refuse to return such empty container if the fee is not paid.

According to the JCOST, compliance shall be enforced by a central taskforce at JCOST level and local taskforce at the unit level at the point of operation/loading, while truckers would have to present a certificate of compliance or be liable to a fine, which is still being fine-tuned.

Parties to the resolution include the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO), Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria/Truck Drivers Unit (MWUN/TDU), and Truck Terminal Users Association of Nigeria (TTUA) – all represented by their heads.

Justifying the rates review at the general session of the body in Lagos over the weekend, JCOST Chairman, Mr. Kayode Odunowo, lamented the nation’s present economic realities and related cost of doing business in the industry. According to him, the council arrived at the new template after exhaustive investigations, research and deliberations.

Meanwhile, ahead of the implementation of the truck standadisation exercise, the truckers lampooned the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) over its extortion of truckers with its N10,000 sticker levy a year ago.

Nevertheless, it stated that one year after the truckers were “blackmailed and sabotaged” into the sticker fee with a promise to stop other forms of illegal dues at the port gates, nothing has changed.

“They are now drawing FRSC and VIO into the port industry to join in milking us. We are not relenting, we are still engaging the authorities at different levels. We lament seriously our disappointment and the frustration of genuine members over the failure of that struggle against the sticker project. They deceived members to go with them considering the artificial scarcity that benefitted the saboteurs then. Today, everybody is crying,” Kayode Odunowo stated.