The dreaded Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) has finally dealt a blow in the nations’ shipping sector as European ship owners have finally hiked shipping charges as they label the country a high-risk nation.
The foreign ship owners aside raising freight also imposed surcharges on crew and vessels coming from Nigeria and other countries that are currently battling to contain the EVD.
President of the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping (NCS), Chief Adebayo Sarumi, who confirmed the worrisome development at a maritime event in Lagos said the fear hitherto expressed by maritime stakeholders have become a reality as the both the insurance rates and freight rates have been increased while surcharges have also been imposed.
Also confirming the increase, Director General of the chamber; Mrs Ify Akerele, said that the rates have been increased because Nigeria has become a high risk area, even as she pleaded that the government must do everything possible to bring the situation completely under control.
“It is a tight situation, we can only complain but there is nothing we can do, all hands must be on deck to contain the virus.
“The man that took the virus to Port Harcourt has further compounded the problem we were almost bringing to an end” she said.
The chamber’s boss however blamed the foreigners of wanting to take advantage of the situation by increasing rates adding that the same was done during the unrest in the Niger Delta region.
“She said “Despite the Niger Delta situation, they were still coming, now it is Ebola virus and they have increased freight rates again. She also disclosed that the Chamber will initiate moves with relevant government authorities to negotiate the increase in freight rates with the foreigners.
“We will use the African Maritime Summit coming up this month to discuss the issue of negotiation with the European ship owners”.
Speaking on implication of the increased rates on the economy, Mr. Lucky Amiwero, a logistics expert and President of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), said that increment will result in the increased cost of goods and services as importers will transfer the increased cost to the consumers.
Source : SunOnline