The high cost of shipping has an adverse effect on the economy of Nigeria and other African countries, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Mr Hassan Bello, says.
Bello said on Wednesday in Abuja after the meeting of members of Union of African Shippers Council (UASC) .
He said that part of discussions at the meeting included how to address high charges and transport cost among member states.
He said that nothing has been agreed yet but the consensus is that the charges and transport cost have effect on our national economies.
“And cost of transportation is 40 per cent more on Africa than in any other region.
It is important we look at this cost in a very scientific manner and negotiate them appropriately.
“We are not price fixing organisation but we should also have moderation in the cost, the lower the cost of transportation, the more the economy grows and the reverse is the case.
“We have the cost of transport being substantial in the cost of production in our manufacturing sector. If we have high cost, the cost will ultimately be pushed to the final consumer and that means inflation trends in our economies which is not good,’’ Bello said.
According to him, it is important for member states to be involved in the negotiations on charges as they are arbitrary and unilaterally levied.
He said the members were not informed of the components of these charges and do not know how they were arrived at.
“We have a consensus that some of these charges are not verified, they are unsubstantiated and they are not arrived at with economic indicators.
“And how things are priced in the economies especially international trade on transportation should be scientifically arrived at.
“So, the Union wants the shippers’ council to represent the shippers and shippers should take part in the negotiations of this cost.’’
According to the executive secretary, the NSC has been engaging stakeholders in the shipping lines regarding the reduction of charges.
He said that a consensus would soon be reached after which there would be a 30 per cent to 35 per cent reduction in shipping charges in the country.
Bello, however, said the focus of the meeting was on reduction in international surcharges including freight.