CMA CGM, the French container transportation and shipping company has bowed to pressure from the Nigerian Shippers Council to suspend the controversial Peak Season Surcharge imposed on imported cargo by most multinational shipping lines operating in West Africa. The suspension is effective October 1, 2020.

CMA CGM follows in the footsteps of Maersk Line and the Mediterranean Shipping Company MSC in announcing the suspension of the application of the surcharge on ships calling in Nigeria from 1st October, 2020.

The suspension of the surcharge was contained in a letter dated September 8, 2020 and sent to the Executive Secretary/CEO of the NSC, Hassan Bello from the Head Office of the CMA CGM in Marseilles France.

Recall that MSC had earlier suspended application of the surcharge from  September 1, 2020 as a result of protests by Shippers’ Council and other stakeholders.

Mearsk Line had penultimate week, succumbed to pressure, instructing its commercial department to halt the collection of the surcharge. The halting of the illegal levy took effect from September 1, 2020.

This was in response to protests by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Commercial Regulator in Nigeria, which recently convened a meeting of the Organised Private Sector OPS to deliberate on the astronomical Peak Season Surcharge imposed by shipping lines calling in Nigeria.

The Union of African Shippers’ Council UASC, had subsequently backed Shippers’ Council calls for immediate suspension of the arbitrary imposition of the surcharge, describing it as a violation of previous UASC/European Community Shipowners Association ECSA agreement requiring prior, mutual and reasonable notification of UASC and Ports Management Association of West and Central Africa PMAWCA by individual shipping companies before any such imposition of new tariff, surcharges or increase in transport cost.

Managing Director of Maersk Nigeria, Lara Lana had in a letter also addressed to the Executive Secretary/CEO of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, stated that “our principals in our Head Office have informed us of your letter with subject reference increase in Peak Season Surcharge”.

The letter further stated: “We would like to thank you for the supporting document you shared shedding light on the meeting between the ECSA and UASC”.