Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos today reserved Wednesday 17th December 2014 for ruling in a case instituted by the Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) against the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) on the reversal of progressive storage charges at the nation’s seaports and the increase of free storage days from three days to seven days by the NSC.
At the beginning of the case in November, the highly respected judge had promised to grant accelerated hearing in the matter in the interest of the nation’s economy.
At the resumed hearing today, counsels to the plaintiff, Mr. Femi Atoyebi (SAN); counsel to to the NSC (the 1st defendant), Mr. Emeka Akabogu and counsel to the Shippers Association of Lagos State (the 2nd defendant), Chief Nwagbara all adopted their written addresses.
STOAN filed the suit against the NSC on Monday 10th November 2014 shortly after Justice Buba – on technical grounds – struck out a case it filed earlier against the Council over progressive storage charges at the port.
STOAN had obtained an injunction on Friday 31st October 2014 restraining the NSC from acting upon a notice it published on Wednesday 29th October 2014 reversing storage charges at the nation’s seaports.
It would be recalled that the NSC published the advertisement announcing the reversal of storage charges at the ports to that which was in force as at May 1, 2009. NSC also ordered an increase in the free storage period at the port from three days to seven days.
The Council equally directed shipping companies to reduce their shipping line agency charges from N26,500 to N23,850 per TEU and from N48,000 to N40,000 per FEU and directed shipping agencies to refund container deposits to importers and agents within 10 working days after the return of the empty containers.
But not satisfied with the directive of the NSC, terminal operators under the auspices of STOAN and shipping agencies under the Association of Shipping Line Agencies (ASLA) dragged the Council before the Federal High Court, challenging its powers to reduce their charges.
Justice Buba will also deliver ruling on the ASLA case against NSC Wednesday.
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