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FG probes shipping coy’s illegal charges

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WORRIED by the avalanche of complaints of crass cases of extortion and slamming of illegal charges by some shipping companies, an agency of the federal government, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has commenced investigating Grimaldi Shipping Line over reports of undue delay of importers’ cargo at the ports.

This development comes on the heels of the complaints made by Royal Light Global Logistics Ltd, a freight forwarding agency, which sent a letter to Shippers’ Council attaching draft details of the questionable charges by Grimaldi Shipping.

The freight forwarding company, which accused Grimaldi of imposing excessive charges and withholding other consignments of freight forwarding companies who have any pending demurrage on a different transaction, had lamented the colossal N417,500,00 demurrage charges for 1×20 feet  container delivered to Vessorg Int’l Limited which has been  returned,

According to the report, at the point of delivery, Vessorg int’l Business ltd, deposited into Grimaldi account the sum of 100,000.00 (One hundred thousand naira) representing the container deposit to be refunded when the container is returned

Subsequently, another sum of 112, 500.00 ( One hundred and twelve thousand five hundred naira) was also paid to Grimaldi representing provisional Excess payment to be refunded when the container is returned.

“Surprisingly when the container was returned Grimaldi Agency Nigeria ltd. Converted the total sum 212,500.00 issued an extra bill of 214,845,00 (two hundred  and fourteen thousand eight hundred and forty five naira) to be paid on the same container claiming that the empty  container was delayed before returning.

Grimaldi insisted that Royal Light Global Logistics will pay this 214,845,00 claiming that as the agent in the job they are liable to pay, going further to confiscate all containers  refund deposits of various clients of Royal light logistics with them.

Describing the actions of Grimaldi as a deliberate act to perpetuate ‘monumental fraud’, the freight forwarding company accused the shipping line of extortion from clearing agents and importers thereby increasing the already high cost of doing business in Nigeria and frustrating government order on ease of doing business.

Meanwhile, the Port Manager of PTML, the terminal handling company for Grimaldi, BabatundeKeshiro declined commenting this issue.

However, he assured that he would be willing to comment when he sees and reviews the invoices claimed to have been paid by Vessorg int’l Business Limited.

Nevertheless, the Director of Consumer Affairs at Shippers’ Council, Chief CajetanAgu told ourMaritime editor that the Council has begun investigations on the issue.

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