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INTRODUCTION:
The Nigerian Shippers' Council (NSC) was established in 1978 by decree 13 NSC Act Cap. N133 LFN 2004.
It is vested with the responsibility of protecting the interest of Nigerian Shippers i.e. importers and exporters.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND:
The period before the formation of Nigerian Shippers' Council in 1978 was characterized by deterioration in the quality of shipping services and unmitigated increases in ocean freight rates by foreign ship owners who operated scheduled liner services to Nigerian ports.

Acting under a powerful cartel of conference arrangement, Shipping Companies unilaterally imposed freight rate increases, which averaged between 25 and 30 percent per annum notably along the United Kingdom West African Line (UKWAL), Continental West African Lines Conference (COWAC), American West Africa Freight Conference (AWAFC) etc. shipping ranges.

These increases without exception were in addition to stifling port surcharges that the conference equally imposed on the nation's economy. For example, at the peak of the infamous cement armada in mid 1974, daily demurrage of 4,000 US dollars were charged per vessel on over 600 vessels waiting for months to berth, a development that created unpleasant consequences for the economy.

As the huge foreign currency outflows arising from the carriage of our sea-borne trade in foreign lines continued to impoverish the Nigerian economy and other developing countries, with attendant adverse consequences on balance of payment in favour of developed countries, a debate aimed at addressing the problem of trade imbalance was voiced at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

From this debate, there emerged a new World Maritime Order in 1965 encapsulated in the UN Liner Code for Liner Conferences document which strongly recommended the formation of National Shippers' Councils in developing countries also referred to as Group of 77. UNCTAD confirmed this new order by endorsing the formation of Shippers' Councils in its 1968 meeting in New Delhi, India. Thereafter Shippers' Councils sprang up in various parts of the world including the developed countries. The first Shippers' Council in Africa was set up in 1968 in Cote D' Voire

Therefore, to all intents and purposes, the formation of national shippers' organizations in the developing countries was to act as a countervailing force against the excesses of foreign ship owners and other service providers.

In addition to the Act setting up the Council,, five regulations have been made between 1986 and 2007 to support the activities of the Council.

These regulations are:

  • THE NIGERIAN SHIPPERS' COUNCIL (FREIGHT RATE STABILISATION FEES ON IMPORTS AND EXPORTS) REGULATIONS OF 1986.
  • THE NIGERIAN SHIPPERS' COUNCIL (FREIGHT RATE STABILISATION FEES ON IMPORTS AND EXPORTS) REGULATIONS OF 1995.
  • THE NIGERIAN SHIPPERS' COUNCIL (LOCAL SHIPPING CHARGES ON IMPORTS AND EXPORTS REGULATIONS OF 1997.
  • THE NIGERIAN SHIPPERS' COUNCIL (INLAND CONTAINER DEPOT) REGULATIONS OF 2007.
  • THE NIGERIAN SHIPPERS' COUNCIL (CONTAINER FREIGHT STATION) REGULATIONS OF 2007.