Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc (NAHCO) and other Ground Handling companies say they will not grant cargo agents 100% waivers on demurrage for cargo storage during the 14 day lockdown on Lagos due to the covid-19.
The agents under the umbrella of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA had in a statement protest the insistence of the Managements of the Nigeria Aviation Handling Company, NAHCO and the Skyway Aviation Handling Company plc, SAHCO on the payment of demurrage on cargoes affected by the lockdown.
The companies in a statement signed by the Head, Corporate Communication, NAHCO, Samuel Akinrinmade says the 100% waiver requested by the agents is based on the premise that an agency of Government, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) is taking on the financial burden of the 100 % waiver at the seaports and issuing credit notes to Port Terminal Operators.
According to him, the ground handling Companies provide critical handling services in support the management of and fight against COVID 19 at extra costs and in the challenging circumstances in the last 6 weeks of lockdown and closure of airports and airspace (except for approved essential and emergency flights).
“In addition, warehousing services especially ensuring shipments in the custody of the Ground Handling Companies are kept safe, and in good condition have also been at a huge cost.”
He notes that this is not the case in aviation, as Ground Handling Companies have not been informed by Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) or Federal Airports Authority (FAAN) that Government is giving any financial exchange for storage waiver in the aviation sector. We have shared this fact with the cargo agents and asked them to direct their protest appropriately.
“We are a responsible corporate organisation, employing over 2,200 Nigerian and affecting over 100,000 people in Nigeria directly and indirectly. COVID 19 has affected the aviation industry the most. Today, our industry is faced with revenue loss and cash crunch. Ground Handling Companies are critical aviation service providers and greatly affected.
Mr. Akinrinmade states that the cost of operations has risen materially in light of the new safety measures in their operations and all the safety equipment, systems, PPE etc that they have put in place for staff, customers and stakeholders.
While appreciating the work and efforts of the Minister of Aviation, NCAA and FAAN, as the Aviation industry continues to face the effects of COVID 19, “we are challenged and meeting our obligations to staff and paying all that is due to Federal Airport Authority of Nigerian (FAAN), charges such as 5% of our revenue as concession fee, Rent and Service Recovery Charge etc.
Going forward is an insurmountable task.”
The statement emphasized that, “Ground Handling Companies are private companies just like the Port Terminal Operators in the seaports, Cargo Agents many of whom work in in Custom Bonded Warehouses in both the seaports and airports and or belong to associations that operate in same, understand this and the fact that both maritime and aviation industries are in the same economy.”
“They should therefore direct their grievances in the right direction away from the Ground Handling Companies to the appropriate quarters to ensure their desire results of equity in all Customs Bonded Warehouse whether in the seaport or airport.”