The National Port Authority (NPA), in compliance with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s mandate of waiving duty on containers that have stayed for 90 days and above, is to shortly announce waiving duties on containers in this category.
Mr. David F. Williams, managing director of NPA, indicates that effective February 10, 2016, the entity will commence announcement with details regarding the waived container listing, validation of consignees, clearing documents, custom payment, and terminal handling charges, which must be paid to APM Terminals.
According to him, the total of 332 containers has been identified to fall in the mandated category, which accumulates to about US$1.9 million to be waived.
Mr. Williams said the President saw the need to carry out the waiver due to the fact that the economy is under severe stress due to ‘exogenous’ factors primarily arising from falling prices of major commodities including rubber and iron ore on the international market.
He added that the Ebola virus disease also caused a decline in the economy, which the country is still striving to recover from.
“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,” MD Williams added.
Furthermore, the MD indicated that the action will enhance port operational efficiency from the standpoint of congestion in the container yard, and thereby improve quick turnaround time of container traffic in and out of the port.
“We wish to express our gratitude to the President for her foresight in trying to bring relief to the Liberian people at this time of economic hardship. This will bring relief to most of our compatriots in the Diaspora, who shipped containers during the same time period,” he said.
Analyzing reasons for overstay of containers above 90 days and beyond the free time, Mr. Williams said, the NPA found out that: shippers receive payments from consignees and do not settle freight with shipping lines; shippers who took the responsibility on behalf of the consignees and consignees failed to make settlement to shippers; NGO (local) and humanitarian cargoes get assurances of duty free, and that process takes 2 to 3 months, causing containers to run into storage; and sometimes consignees lack understanding of the clearing process through customs, APM Terminals, and shipping lines, leading to accrual of storage charges.