By Stephen Ubanna
This is not the best of times for CMA and CGM, the two notable shipping lines that have dominated the nation’s shipping sector over the years from the Asian country of China. There had been a good working relationship between the two international shipping Lines and the Nigerian shippers which are active in the Lagos ports of Apapa, Tin-can and the south east port of Onne, which have witnessed an increase in cargo traffic from Chn , in the recent time through its Line services calling at the ports.
There is no gain saying the fact that the two Chinese companies had been involved in connecting Nigeria to and from 160 other countries through its 755 agencies worldwide and which is currently being threatened with the rise in the cost of shipment of cargoes from China.
The Nigerian shippers who could no longer bear it were said to have cried out against the incessant rise in the cost of shipments from China to Nigeria, describing it as ‘’unfriendly and comfortable’’. Note that shippers are motivated by the friendly approach of Carriers in conducting their transport trade from one country to the other before settling down to patronise the services of a particular shipping Line as providers of cargo to for shipment to the Nigerian seaports of Apapa, Tin-can Island and Onne.
It has been confirmed in maritime circles that Nigerian shippers are very dynamic in trade and which should be appreciated by the Carries instead of being exploited at all levels that may cripple their business and enthusiasm to further import cargo into the Nigerian markets.
Much as it is risky to accept over-weight cargo on board a ship, the SOLAS Convention provides weighing of Containers by shippers before shipment. According to an informed sources, the shipper has the right ‘’to charge on any over- weight cargo because of the risks on board’’.
It is not surprising why Nigerian-bound cargo from China now attract $1,000, additional charges for a ‘’20’’ Container shipped into the Nigerian ports with CMA or CGM vessels. The argument in maritime circles was that ‘’a ‘’20’’ Container could carry excess of 25 to 27 tons of cargo.
Although, the company had blamed the continued rise in their Container shipping sot weight rates ‘’to the congestion in Lagos ports of Apapa and Tin-can Island ports in the face of the Asian country of China emerged coronavirus, popular, COVID 19, since December 31, 2019 and now, which the Nigerian shippers did not find funny. The Group was said to have said that the increase in its Container spot weight rates further became necessary in order ‘’to maintain a major balance between demand and maritime transport effective capacity’’.
In spite of the fact there is no hope of these market- driven increases in Container shipping spot freights dropping in the coming months as The Value News findings shows, but the group on its own may have decided to put on hold further increases on in spot freight rates for all its services operated under CMA, CGM, CNC, Containerships, Mercosul, ANL and APL, to avoid losing Patronage from their Nigerian shippers, who constitute the largest chunk of their Customers, in the African Continent.
A Statement by the CMA and CGM Group had said that in the recent times, there has been a rift between CDA, and CMA, including other China based shipping Lines over the increase in freight rate charges, which many believe could only be resolved by the Nigerian Shippers Council, NSL, under the close watch of Emmanuel Jime, with time.
This may have emboldened the Nigerian shippers ‘’to solicit a reduction of the over-weight freight charges on ‘’20’’ and ‘’40’’ Containers, that are targeted at cargoes coming from China to Nigeria. The Nigerian shippers were said to have made it clear to the officials of CMA and CGM, that these special cargoes which should be raw materials for industrial purpose should not be over charged. They noted that ‘’loading the cargoes into vessels in piecemeal would have adverse effects on the components and should be stopped’’.
Notwithstanding the down-turn in the global economy due to the Pandemic, the two chines based shipping Lines, was believed to be investing heavily one vessels to strengthen its operations. The group was said to have increased the capacity of its operated fleet by 11% since December 31, 2021, during the outbreak of the Pandemic through addition of new vessels and purchase of second-hand vessels as well.
Many believe that with the increase on its fleet, there was no basis for CMA and CGM, to increase its spot Container freight weight rates. Over the last fifteen months, the Group has said ‘’to have increased its Container fleet by 780,000 TEUs’’ showing that its business is growing phenomenally. The companies believe that through such measures of increasing its fleet ‘’it would strengthen its valuable customer relationships as well as proving support as they navigate today’s difficult supply chain challenges’’.
‘’The Chinese shipping companies, which have Rodolphe Saade, as the Group Managing Director, GMD, may have to reconsider their decision on the increase in the container spot freight rates because they have traded with Nigerian shippers for years with little or no misunderstanding to encourage the shippers to continue to Patronise their services’’ a shipper remarked. The shippers may have made it clear to officials of CMA and CGM, ‘’We will not pay additional cost for our cargo from China to Nigeria’’, meaning that they may decide to abandon the two Chinese shipping Lines and Patronise other Companies currently making services available to them at affordable rate. Ad News To CMA and CGM.
Perhaps, this may have encouraged the board of two Chinese shipping Lines, CMA and CGM, to take the decision ‘’to stop all spot freight rate increases on Monday September 27, 2021’’ stressing that the new spot rate will become effective from February 1, 2022, to avoid losing their valuable Customers this peak period. The Group may not want to lose their Nigerian Customers who are being offered transit time services from the Asian countries of South Korea, China and South –East Asia to Nigeria.