By Innocent Orok
The Union of African Shippers’ Councils (UASC) has called for the immediate suspension of Peak Season Surcharges (PSS) imposed by Shipping Lines serving the West African Trade Route. This is in line with Nigerian Shippers’ Council’s position.
Nigerian Shippers’ Council had in an August 16, 2020 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 Nigeria bound cargoes.
In a letter signed by the Secretary General, Ogoula Giscard Lilian, the
UASC 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 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.
It may be recalled that two days ago, Nigerian Shippers’ Council
convened a meeting of stakeholders and the organised private sector to discuss the astronomical increase in Peak Season Surcharge. The meeting roundly condemned the surcharge.
Chief Cajetan Agu, Nigerian Shippers’ Council Director of Consumer
Affairs Department said a joint platform made up of UASC, Shippers’ Council and other relevant stakeholders will be created to facilitate discussions with ECSA.