COVID-19 Lockdown: Why we can’t grant ‘100% demurrage waiver’ request—NAHCO


…asks Agents to direct demand to appropriate Agencies



Posted by Sade Williams


The Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc (NAHCO), said on Sunday  it cannot grant the request of 100% demurrage waiver on stored goods by Cargo agents, saying the ground handling companies are also challenged and have been meeting their obligations of fees payment to relevant aviation agencies since and during the lockdown period.


The Cargo Agents are asking for 100% waiver on storage and their demand 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.


But in a statement signed by Samuel Akinrinmade, Head, Corporate Communications of NAHCO, the  company said 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.


The company said it has also shared this fact with the cargo agents and asked them to direct their protest appropriately.


According to Akinrinmade, NAHCO and other Ground Handling Companies have had to 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, adding that warehousing services especially ensuring shipments in the custody of the Ground Handling Companies are kept safe while also in good condition, have also been at a huge cost.


“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. Our cost of operations has risen materially in light of the new safety measures in our operations and all the safety equipment, systems, PPE etc that we have put in place for our staff, customers and stakeholders.


“We appreciate the work and efforts of the Honourable Minister of Aviation, NCAA and FAAN, even 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.


Akinrinmade noted that Ground Handling Companies are private companies just like the Port Terminal Operators in the seaports, Cargo Agents many of whom work  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”, he added.


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