Court strikes out suit filed by terminal operators against Shippers’ Council

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday struck out a suit brought by the Seaports Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) against the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), for non-compliance with the rules of court.

The Presiding Judge, Ibrahim Buba, said that the parties which came by way of originating summons, did not tell the court the issues (questions) for determination.

“Since the court cannot proceed without knowing the right and interest of the parties which are inextricably tied to the question of determination, the court cannot proceed on that, “ Buba said.

The  terminal operators under the aegis of STOAN on Oct. 31 secured an interim injunction stopping the NSC from implementing the directive on port charges.  NSC on Oct. 29 published an advertisement announcing the reversal of storage charges at the ports, which was in force as at May 1, 2009, to take effect from Nov. 3.

NSC also ordered an increase in the storage period at the ports from three days to seven days.

The NSC equally directed shipping companies to reduce their charges from N26,500 to N23,850 (20 ft container) and from N48,000 to N40,000 (40 ft container).

It (NSC) also directed shipping agencies to refund container deposits to importers and agents within 10 days after the return of the empty containers.

Meanwhile, another case brought by the shipping line agencies, under the aegis of the Association of Shipping Line Agencies (ASLA) against the NSC was adjourned to Nov. 17 for further hearing.