- NWEKE LASHES OUT AT A.P.MOLLER TERMINAL
AS FREIGHT FORWARDERS ISSUE COUNTRY MANAGER 7 DAYS ULTIMATUM
By Mcanthony Onuoha
Following the recent statement by the new Country Manager of APMT, Mr.Klaus Laursen, which was published by ROAM REPORTERS ONLINE on the 2nd July,2020, in which he accused Freight Forwarders of being totally responsible for ports congestion which he said has contributed in no mean measure to the back up of ships on Nigeria’s territorial waters. The Head of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Research and Policy Group, Fwdr. Dr. Eugene Nweke, has launched a diatribe against the Bonded Terminal and it’s management team.
The Former National President of NAGAFF, expressed dismay on the uterance of the Country Manager saying, rather than finding a lasting measure to the challenges confronting them, APMT decided to cast every sense of professional conduct overboard and went ahead to insult the sensibilities of Freight Forwarders whom he said had never been so insulted and blackmailed in the last 40 years,in his words, “the Country Manager of the A.P. Moller Terminals, perhaps spoke the minds of his cohorts who take pleasure in bedeviling the Freight Forwarders with concocted allegations which in every sense remain a cheap way to transferring their managerial ineptitude and operational inadequacy to Maritime Practioners so as to divert the attention of concerned authorities to least important issues in the face of a threatening economic recession occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic”.
Chief Nweke said that “the industry blame games has been a prevalent tradition and stock in trade of many stakeholders in the Maritime industry especially in post- ports concession era”. He further added that shifting blames for corporate failures and inactions has become synonymous with the administrative style of APMT as well as their watchword.
The Former National President of NAGAFF continued by saying that, “the erring Country Manager may be an ardent stickler to racism and belongs to the class of neocolonialists who see blacks as slaves irrespective of professional inclination and exposure, even without the least recourse to the stand point of Freight Forwarders as global phenomenon”. He vehemently berated the Country Manager for causing a global damage by carelessly and deliberately issuing a fallacious press statement in self-defense.
Furthermore, the Maritime Czar advised the company to try hard to correct the bad impression it has left in the Industry, alleging that freight forwarders have been tolerating the company’s operational inefficiency and managerial ineptitude since 2006 till date, and worst of all, contending with unilaterally imposed exploitative charges which they have been enduring sacrificially, and as part of their support to the Federal Government’s quest to encourage and promote a thriving environment for sustainable Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), targeted at making the country a haven for Foreign investors. Chief Nweke disclosed that the reasons why Government’s objective for Ports concession was defeated within 10 years of the exercise have been evaluated of which 40% of the reasons were contributed by the actions of APMT, lamenting that up till this present time, the company has resolved to remain a stickler to the first generation port operational system with a desperate intension to curry political patronage in exchange of crippling the system with operational high-handedness and unilateral imposition of charges amidst lack of qualitative cargo handling services .
The Country Manager of A.P. Moller Terminals, Mr . Klaus Laursen, had in a statement recently, accused freight forwarders of causing congestion at the terminal by not coming forward to clear their containers, a statement that Chief Nweke has dismissed as”a deliberate self- defense statement (blame game) for refusing to acknowledge his responsibilities as well as to exonerate himself and company from wrong doing before the world. He reminded the Country Manager that the Nigerian Shippers Council, in furtherance to its regulatory mandate, sought the intervention of Court of competent jurisdiction to compel the Company (APMT) and other operators to adhere to industry pricing system which was targeted at abolishing charges that are above industry average, which of cause are unilateral, as well as charges without core Service/cost functions, but APMT went and joined forces to wriggle out itself from the legal consequences of its actions and to resist the Shippers Council, and when judgement was eventually awarded in favour of a first generation Port operator, APMT exhibited its unwillingness to comply and mindlessly undermining the fact that its extortive tendencies contribute to a large extent in impoverishing Nigerians who are at the receiving end, pointing out that It is on record that APMT joined forces with its cohorts to appeal the judgement awarded to Nigerian Shippers Council so as to sustain the collection of illegal charges which has continued till date.
However, the Prestige Blended Magazine has dutifully followed events in the Maritime industry, and is so attuned to the sad situation on ground as freight forwarders keep lamenting and kicking against the high handedness of Terminal Operators and shipping companies, and amazingly, these industry major players have kept adamant in most cases, sticking to whatever changes they make damning it attendant consequences.The impunity and high-handedness have continued unabated as freight forwarders keep questioning the statutory duty and essence of establishing the Nigerian Shippers Council which is supposedly saddled with regulatory responsibility.
Nevertheless, aside from the plethora of professional advise given to the Country Manager and his team by the Head of NAGAFF Research and Policy Group, Dr.Eugene Nweke, Freight forwarders have gone ahead to issue Mr. Klaus Laursen seven (7) days ultimatum to tender an unreserved official apology or they reconsider a long standing cordial business relationship with the company, and a monthly industrial appraisal report of the company’s activities to international community especially, the Global regulatory bodies.