Announcement effective February 10, 2016 with details regarding storage waived, container listing, validation of consignees, clearing documents, Customs payment, and terminal handling charges which must be paid to APMT.
There is a total of 332 containers that falls in this category with total accumulated storage charge of approximately $1.9Million USD to be waived. In conjunction with the MFDP and APM Terminals, we have set January 31st, 2016 as a cut-off time.
The President saw the need to do this waiver due to the fact that the economy is under severe stress due to exogenous factors, primarily the price of major commodities on the international markets such as rubber, iron ore and the effects of the Ebola Virus Disease, which had a negative effect on the Liberian economy.
The intent also is to provide incentive to small businesses to continue to encourage them to help facilitate commerce in order to help stimulate the economy. This will also enhance port operational efficiency from the standpoint of congestion in the container yard, and thereby improving quick turnaround time of container traffic in and out of the Port, which serves as the gateway to the economy.
We wish to express our gratitude to the President for her foresight in trying to bring relief to the Liberia people in this time of economic hardship. This will also bring relief to many of our compatriots in the diaspora who shipped containers during the same time period.
The Management of NPA did an analysis of overstayed containers above 90 days to determine reasons why containers accrued storage beyond the free time and found the following reasons:
• Shippers receive payments from consignees and don’t settle freight with Shipping Lines – no release for container
• Shippers take the responsibility on behalf of the consignees and consignees failed to make settlement to shipper – no release, container overstays
• NGO (Local) and Humanitarian cargoes get assurances of duty free and that process takes 2-3 months and containers run into storage
• Sometimes consignees lack of understanding of the clearing process through Customs, APM Terminals, and Shipping Lines lead to accrual of storage charges.
The Management of the National Port Authority along with APMT will conduct an aggressive education campaign as to the clearing process along with other stakeholders particularly LRA and the Ministry of Commerce.
Again, I wish to reiterate that in fulfillment of Her Excellency Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s storage waiver mandate for containers 90 overstayed days and above, the process will commence effective February 10, 2016 with details of all containers being provided through a public service announcement in the local media.