Nigerian freight forwarders operating at the Lagos Port Complex, otherwise known as Apapa port, have asked their trade partners from Japan, Singapore, China and other countries, as well as importers in Nigeria to desist from using the services of Ocean Network Express (ONE) Shipping Company for shipments due to issues relating to poor customer care.
Business a.m exclusively gathered that the freight forwarders blacklisted the shipping line following its refusal to release multi-billion naira shipments of an importer in Nigeria for failure to pay N557,000 demurrage charges on a container used for previous shipment, whose return to the shipping line was delayed for 38 days. The container was said to have been detained by the Police after the truck conveying it was involved in a ghastly accident.
At the return of the container, it was gathered that ONE Shipping Line had gone ahead to slam the whopping demurrage charge on the freight forwarder despite evidences of the accident availed the shipping line and pleas to jettison charges incurred due to the accident, which left many badly injured victims. The shipping company was said to have been briefed about the accident and carried along with the development and it assured the freight forwarders of its understanding.
The freight forwarders in a petition to the Nigerian Shippers’ Council and the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) headquarters described the action of the shipping line “inhuman,” saying it was too much of being business-like and cared less of the lives of Nigerians injured in the accident.
Ndubuisi Uzoegbo, chairman of NAGAFF, Apapa port chapter, confirmed the development to business a.m. He said freight forwarders were pained that Ocean Network Express shipping company lacks good customer care and not interested in building business relationship with Nigerian importers.
Business a.m could not obtain the phone numbers of the shipping line, as the company does not leave any for its customers. When our correspondent visited the office of the shipping line on Warehouse Road, Apapa, he was stopped by the security agents, who said no visitor is allowed in during break time.
The freight forwarders’ petitions to Nigerian Shippers’ Council and NAGAFF, obtained by business a.m read:
“We wish to express our regret over the inhuman action and decision making of the management of OCEAN NETWORK EXPRESS Shipping company.
“We took delivery of this above mentioned shipping company container on the 18th of June, 2019. Unfortunately, the truck conveying the container to our warehouse had a fatal accident and crashed into a commuter bus injuring the passengers sitting at the rear of the bus. The truck, truck owner and the driver were detained by the Nigeria police.
“After much troubles with settlement of the damages and issues uprising, the container was now returned on the 26th July, 2019. During these times, we came to report the accident to ONE SHIPPING company with pictures of the accident and the Police report. We were told to do our best to resolve the issues and try everything possible to return the empty box, then we can come back to discuss with them on the outstanding invoice that may have accumulated.
“Now, we went to the shipping company to release another shipment and we were told we have an outstanding invoice of about ₦557,077.50 caused by those delays in returning the container that was involved in the accident.
“All efforts to liase with the management team were all rebuffed. Even one of the Heads of Operation, Mr. MAX had the effrontery to say and I quote “I don’t care if the container killed everybody in the bus, all he knows is that we must pay before anything can be discussed about releasing our new shipment.”
“All efforts to reach to a higher authority in the shipping company were all kicked out. They have no phone numbers for complaints, no company email address to report any incident. The whole shipping company mode of operation is questionable.
“We appeal you look into this matter and take drastic action immediately against this fraudulent act by this shipping company. We have attached copies of the accident photos, the police reports and the questionable outstanding invoices.”
Ocean Network Express, is a Japanese container shipping company that is headquartered in Tokyo and Singapore. It was formed in 2016 as a joint venture of the Japanese shipping companies Nippon Yusen Kaisha, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, and K Line, inheriting the container shipping operations of its parent companies. It’s vessels usually call at the APM Terminal in Apapa port and the West African Container Terminal (WACT) in Onne Port, Rivers State.