The Union of African Shippers’ Councils UASC has made a strong case for the immediate suspension of Peak Season Surcharge PSS imposed by multinational shipping lines serving the West African trade route. This is in line with Nigerian Shippers’ Council’s position.

This call is sequel to a letter by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council dated August 16, 2020, addressed to the European Community Ship Owners Association ECSA and copied to the UASC among others, in which it complained about the outrageous increase in surcharges with particular reference to Peak Season Surcharge, levied on Nigeria bound cargo.

The UASC in a recent letter signed by its Secretary-General Ogoula Giscard Lilian, strongly condemned the ‘unilateral and offensive action by ECSA carriers in utter  disrespect of previous agreement and expectations’,  stating that the action destabilises 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 of Coronavirus pandemic which has kept commercial activity at its lowest in terms of activity and prosperity’.

The letter reads in part: “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 also cited the report of the UASC/ECSA meeting held on 16 July 2010 and a Joint Declaration between UASC and ECSA signed in Brussels on 12 April 2012.

On the way forward, UASC then called on ECSA to kindly respect previous agreements and recommendations on this matter, immediately suspend the implementation of the Peak Season Surcharge until discussions on the new surcharges take place.

Other recommendations by the UASC on the matter include that the ECSA should take necessary measures to improve on the general transparency and facilitation of trade relation with UASC’s members, among others.

Meanwhile, Director, Consumer Affairs Department  of the NSC, Chief Cajetan Agu has said a joint platform made up of UASC member nations, Nigerian Shippers’ Council and other relevant stakeholders will be created to facilitate discussions with ECSA.

Recall that the Nigerian Shippers’ Council had recently convened a meeting of stakeholders and the organised private sector to discuss the astronomical increase in Peak Season Surcharge. The meeting unequivocally condemned the unilateral imposition of this new surcharge.