By Adedapo Adesanya
The Shippers Association of Lagos State (SALS) has said that withholding of container deposits annually by shipping lines in the country is due to the shipping firms’ insistence that the release of such funds must be to importers.
This was disclosed in Lagos by the President of SALS, Mr Jonathan Nicol, who said importers want to collect the refund for themselves.
Container deposit is a specified amount that the importer is made to pay as a guaranty for the return of the container after the goods in it have been discharged.
Mr Nicol noted that most importers were not interested in the refund as it was part of the payment for the agents who made payment for all charges including the container deposit on behalf of the importer.
The SALS president noted that it was not right for the shipping lines to receive money from the clearing agents on behalf of the importers but refuse to refund directly to the clearing agent.
He stressed that these shipping firms were illegally holding on to the funds as well as enriching themselves from such uncollected funds.
He commended efforts of the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) to ensure return of such funds but noted that the shipping firms dragged the Council to court and that the case was still pending.
On the part of the council, the Executive Secretary of the NSC, Mr Hassan Bello, said that the council was working at getting insurance companies indemnify containers at the port so they can get the returns when such containers were brought back.
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