Agents kick as NAHCO, SAHCO double cargo handling charges

Agents kick as NAHCO, SAHCO double cargo handling charges


There is uneasy calm in the cargo handling sub-sector of the aviation industry following the 100 per cent hike in handling charges by the two handling companies, the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) and Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO).

The two handling companies began implementing the 100 per cent tariff increase last Monday, April 24, 2023.

Following the increase, general cargo/bank consignment charges per kilogramme rose from N63.30 to N130.6, the demurrage charge per kilogramme was increased from N13 to N26 while re-registration was increased by about 240 per cent from N4,420 to N15,000.

However, the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), the umbrella body of agents at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja (MMIA) has rejected the increase, describing it as ill timed and insensitive.

This was just as the agents withdrew from work over the weekend in protest against the action of the handling firms.

Speaking with newsmen at the airport over the weekend, the Vice Chairman of ANLCA MMIA, Davies Ben Chukwunenye, said the new increase would compound the suffering of the masses.

He said previous rate reviews sent many clearing agents out of business as they could not cope with the situation, lamenting that this will further add to the plights of agents.

Both NAHCO and SAHCO have, however, defended the review in charges.
In a letter dated 27th April 2023, the ground handlers said the rate adjustment was effected in line with aviation standard as all relevant stakeholders recognised by law, including government agencies and the regulator were duly consulted.

The two companies said they have done due diligence and followed the laid down procedures in arriving at the increment, adding that SAHCO and NAHCO will no longer be liable for any loss/demurrage from the no-work action staged by some ANLCA members.

The letter, signed by Saheed Lasisi and Boma Ukwunna of NAHCO and SAHCO respectively on behalf of the companies, reads: “We have also complied with the relevant provisions of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)’s four main principles on increase in charges for airport and air navigation service providers as contained in ICAO Doc 9082, which are cost recovery, transparency, consultation with users and non-discrimination.

“It is on record that the ground handlers have held several meetings with all critical stakeholders and various associations of freight forwarders and brokers in the industry. During the engagements and numerous conversations held with the stakeholders, it was collectively agreed that there is a need to ensure compensation for services rendered as a way of cost recovery for operations and as such must enhance safety, efficiency, and security of our collective operations and the airport environment.

“Consequently, it was suggested that the ground handlers should amongst other things come up with competitive rates that, to a large extent, match up with the integral cost of operations and that are commensurate with what obtains in other West African countries. This was intensively considered by all parties.”

The companies explained that several meetings were held between them and agents on a shift in the commencement dates of implementing the said agreement  which they acceded to despite the huge cost involved in having to adjust and readjust operating systems which occurred over three or four times.

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