MAERSK Line has finally conceded to the stand of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council over the controversial peak season surcharge.
It has therefore instructed its commercial department to stop applying the peak season surcharge from 1st September 2020.
This is in response to protests by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council which recently convened a meeting of the Organized Private Sector to deliberate on the astronomical peak season surcharge imposed by shipping lines calling in Nigeria.
In a letter signed by Lara Lana, MD of MAERSK Nigeria and addressed to the ES/CEO of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), it stated that “our principals in our Head Office have informed us of your letter with subject reference increase in peak season surcharge”. It further stated that “we would like to thank you for the supporting document you shared shedding light on the meeting between the ECSA and UASC”.
The NSC had in August 16, 2020 in a letter addressed to the European Community Ship Owners Association (ECSA) and copied to the UASC among others complained about the outrageous increase in surcharges with particular reference to Peak Season Surcharge(PSS), levied on Nigerian bound cargo.
It would also be recalled that the Union of African Shippers’ Council (UASC), subsequently backed Shippers’ Council calls for immediate suspension of the peak season surcharge, calling it a violation of previous UASC/European Community Shipowners Association (ECSA) agreement requiring prior, mutual and reasonable notification of UASC and PMAWCA by individual shipping companies before any such imposition of new tariff, surcharges or increase in transport cost.
A letter signed by the Secretary-General, UASC, Ogoula Giscard Lilian, strongly condemned the “unilateral and offensive action by ECSA carriers in blatant disrespect of previous agreement and expectations, “stating that the action destabilizes the business operations of its members “through the increasing of transport costs and weakening of the economies of UASC member-states especially during this outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic which has kept commercial activity at its lowest in terms of activity and prosperity.
“The letter to ECSA further stated that “the implementation of this unilateral decision on your part is in violation of previous UASC/ECSA agreements requiring prior, mutual and reasonable notification of UASC and PMAWCA by individual shipping companies before any such imposition of new tariffs, surcharge or increase in transport cost.
The letter referred ECSA to the Report of the UASC/ECSA meeting held on 16 July 2010; Joint Declaration between UASC and ECSA signed in Brussels on 12 April 2012.”UASC then called on ECSA to kindly take the following measures:–Respect previous agreements and recommendations on this matter;-Suspend the application of the Peak Season Surcharge until discussions on the new surcharges take place.-Take necessary measures to improve on the general transparency and facilitation of trade relation with UASC’s members.