The Shipping & Stevedoring Association of Liberia (SSAL) has called on the Legislature to revisit the Concession Agreement signed between the Government of Liberia and APM Terminals.
The SSAL said the APM Terminals in its concession contract with the Government allegedly included the “outsourcing of the stevedoring rights which are exclusively for Liberian stevedoring companies.”
The Chief Executive Officer of Leelee Shipping and Stevedoring Agency, Atty. Korvah Jallah, who is also the spokesperson of the Shipping & Stevedoring Association of Liberia (SSAL) told journalists yesterday that, as President George M. Weah said, Liberians cannot be “spectators in the country’s economy, rather direct participants” and therefore he is appealing to the Legislature to amend the Concession to allow Liberians to have stevedoring rights.
The Liberian port users, under the banner “Shipping & Stevedoring Association of Liberia” (SSAL) in a document to the Legislature, claimed that the APM Terminals’ Concession Agreement signed with the Government of Liberia since 2011 is suppressive and meant to shy other potential investors away from Liberia.
Commenting further on the excesses of the agreement, he told lawmakers that APM Terminals, a Dutch port management company, has refused to live up to the terms and conditions of the concession deal.
“Rehabilitating old warehouses in the Freeport of Monrovia that were built by friendly governments instead of building new ones, bringing in to Liberia foreign stevedoring companies at the disadvantage of Liberian companies, high fees charged on vessels and consignees in favor of APM Terminals, thereby depriving the Government of Liberia the much-needed revenue among others are issues that need urgent attention for redress,” Atty. Jallah stated.
Pointing to what he claimed to be the worse potion of the concession deal, he noted that the granting of the concessionaire 30 miles radius along the coastal line of Liberia, beginning from New Kru Town to Benyan Kessely Barracks, need to be reversed to allow other investors the opportunity to explore and invest along coastal belt.
“Prior to the APM Terminals arrival in Liberia, there were already Liberian port users and stevedoring companies operating in the Freeport of Monrovia, he said.
These companies were licensed by the Government of Liberia through the Free Port of Monrovia, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, and the Bureau of Maritime Affairs, granting them permit to engage general cargo importers and exporters, providing them stevedoring and Agency services as required by law, he noted.
When contacted yesterday for reaction to SSAL’s allegations, Madam Marlene Peterson of APM Terminals promised to check with APM Terminals’ commercial office for an immediate reaction but she later informed the Daily Observer that “I gave your cell number to the appropriate authority, and they will call you.” However, up to press time, no representative of APM Terminals had responded to the Daily Observer’s inquiry.