Cargo Handling Cost Increase Is Insensitive, Says ANCLA

The Vice Chairman of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Murtala Mohammed International Airport Ikeja, Davies Ben Chukwunenye, speaking on behalf of all agents across Nigeria has condemned the recent one hundred percent increase in the cost of cargo handling by the two handling companies in the country, Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO) and the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO), describing it as insensitive and an attempt to add to the sufferings of the masses.
The two handling companies on 24th of April commenced a new cargo handling regime with 100 percent increase but this did not go down well with ANLCA members.
The increment showed that general cargo /bank consignment charges per kilogram rose from N63. 30 to N130. 6, the demurrage charge per kilogram also went up from N13 to N26 while re-registration was pegged at N15, 000 from N4, 420 among others.
Davies explained that in second week of February 2023, the ground handlers sent a circular to the executive of ANLCA introducing an upward review of 300 percent on their handling and other charges which they declared highly insensitive as a result of the current economic harsh situation in the country as Nigerians were struggling to survive
He remarked that all attempts to make the handlers understand that it was ill timed to effect an increase was not considered adding, that the last increment was less than three years
ANLCA Vice Chairman said the intervention of their executives led to a downward review of 100 percent which he said was against trade dispute all over the world to have a100 percent increment
Davies explained that the previous increase has sent many agents out of business as they could not cope with the situation lamenting that this will further add to the plights of agents. He said the handling companies informed them that there was galloping inflation in the country. He condemned the poor facilities provided by the management of NAHCO saying that it was not commiserate with the charges being paid by ANLCA members regretting the absence of waiting room and convenience for members
Davies further revealed that ANLCA members bear the brunts of customers’ damaged cargoes especially those affected by water as a result of water logged cargo shed of NAHCO
He called on the government to come to their rescue and save the suffering masses saying that Association had written to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority to intervene as the industry’s regulator but no response from the regulator.
However, in a letter from the two ground handlers to the agents dated 27th April 2023, they declared that, the final rates adjustment was effected in line with Aviation standards as all relevant stakeholders recognized by law including government agencies and that the regulators were duly consulted.
Signed by Boma Ukwunna and Saheed Lasisi of SAHCO and NAHCO respectively on behalf of the their managements, reads “We have also complied with the relevant provisions of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)’s four main principles on increase in charges for Airport and Air Navigation Service providers as contained in ICAO Doc 9082, which are: Cost recovery, Transparency, Consultation with users, and Non-Discrimination.
It is on record that the Ground Handlers have held several meetings with all critical stakeholders and various associations of Freight Forwarders and Brokers in the industry. During the engagements and numerous conversations held with the stakeholders, it was collectively agreed that there is need to ensure compensation for services rendered as a way of cost recovery for operations and such must enhance safety, efficiency, and security of our collective operations and the airport environment.”
“Consequently, it was suggested that the Ground Handlers should amongst other things come up with competitive rates that to a large extent match up with the integral cost of operations and that are commensurate with what obtains in other West African countries. This was intensively considered by all parties”
The companies agreed that there were meetings held between them and agents
on a shift in the commencement dates of implementing the said agreement which they acceded despite the huge cost involved in having to adjust and readjust operating systems which occurred over three or four times.
“We consciously aligned in the spirit of progressive partnership, engagements, consultations, and collaborations.
On the 17th of April 2023 we had a meeting with all the relevant stakeholders, consequent upon which an agreement was jointly executed on the 19th of April 2023 where it was collectively agreed that the ultimate effective date for the implementation of the 100% increase is Monday 24th of April 2023.
We were therefore shocked and taken aback that having achieved the above millage based on thorough justifications regarding the current economic realities, your members still went ahead, staging a protest for a matter that has already been concluded/resolved”
The two Ground Handling Companies said they had done due diligence and followed the laid down procedures in arriving at the increment, adding that SAHCO and NAHCO would no longer be liable for any loss/demurrage from the no work action staged by some ANLCA members

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Albinus Chiedu

Albinus Chiedu is a journalist, aviation media consultant, events management professional, and author. He has practiced journalism since 2000.

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