Clearing agents operating at the nation’s seaports have lamented a sudden increase in haulage charges following a six-day strike embarked upon by truck drivers.
The truck drivers had embarked on the strike penultimate Friday over failure of the truck call-up system introduced by Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to manage the Apapa gridlock.
The agents who spoke in separate interviews said the cost of moving goods from the port to other locations within Lagos has gone up by almost 50 percent.
A clearing agent, Alex Iloh who lamented the aftermath of the strike said it has done more harm than good as the same volume of cargoes that the truckers used to carry at N130, 000 now costs 320,000.
He however blamed the several associations in the subsector for their laxity and inability to fight the cause of their members.
“As I speak to you now, what ordinarily was supposed to move out of port with N130,000 will now take up to N380,000 and the freight forwarding associations are not doing anything about it”
“I really applauded the ability of truck owners to stand firm and pursue their cause making sure they are not ripped off with N5,000. The associations are on their own because they are not ready to fight for anybody but they go behind and collect and today, we are paying demurrage.”
Also speaking, a member of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Frank Aliakor, also corroborated the claims of Iloh saying the agents are left with no option but to pay the stipulated fee to avoid their cargoes accruing additional demurrage.
According to him, the truck owners now charge between N400,000 and N500,000 to transport a 40-feet container while N250,000 and N300,000 is charged for transporting 20-feet container.
He hinted of a planned protest by the freight forwarding associations if shipping companies failed to provide holding bays in weeks to come.