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  • Exporters, shipping companies trade blame over rejected cashew

    Feb 7th, 2016

    Exporters of cashew have blamed shipping companies for the increasing incidence of rejected cashew abroad while the shipping companies have in turn said the exporters are not entirely blameless. The issue was raised at a stakeholders’ forum where members of the National Cashew Association of Nigeria met with operators of leading shipping companies in Nigeria to address issues of delays and rejected cashew exports. Speaking during the forum, the President, NCAN, Mr. Tola Faseru, urged the shipping companies to reduce the transit time for shipping cashew from Nigeria, adding that the time should be set at a maximum of 30 days. He accused shipping companies of sometimes keeping the product inside containers for as long as 120 days, noting that such length of time could damage cashew given its fragile nature.

    Faseru said, “Most of the shipping companies don’t even understand. They just treat cashew as one of those commodities. It is a sensitive commodity that should not stay in a container for too long. “Shipping companies should help us improve the transit time so that instead of the commodity taking several months to get to its destination, the transit time will be shortened. We want that transit time to be reduced to 30 days.” He added, “The moment the container stays beyond 30 days, we will send a lawyer and the shipping company involved will pay 100 per cent cost. “You know how it is when a commodity gets back here in a bad state. There are claims that come back to the exporters. This past year there were huge claims that were given to the customers.   When the product is damaged, the exporter suffers huge losses.”

    In their defence, some of the shipping companies represented at the forum blamed the situation on exporters and terminal operators, falsified and inaccurate information from exporters and delays caused by Lagos traffic when products were being moved to the ports. The General Manager, Pacific International Lines, Mr. Verhaert Mathias, called for a look at the entire supply chain instead of putting the blame on the shipping companies. According to him, 2015 was a difficult year for shipping companies because of the slide in oil price. He said, “Ships were not full anymore and some even pulled out and stopped doing business because if they did not pull out, they would sail empty and incur losses.” He urged exporters to pay attention to packaging details, adding that they should also be transparent about the real volume of the product they were sending out. The General Manager of Hull Blyth shipping agency, Paul Brethel, remarked that weather differences in countries other than Nigeria affected the quality of cashew when the product was taken to those countries.

    He said, “When you move a steel box from a warm climate to a cold one, condensation sets in. When there is warm season in Nigeria, there is winter in South Africa and Nigeria’s product has certain vices, so exporters cannot turn around and say it is the fault of shipping companies.” Also speaking, the South Main Export Manager for Maersk Line, Maureen Okojie, said the decision on what went out was based on imports, adding that because imports nosedived in 2015, it had ripple effects on exports. She emphasised transparency on the part of the exporters, stressing that shipping lines needed to know if they kept dedicated products and the length of time it would be delivered. Okojie added, “The issue of transparency should cut across and NCAN should tackle fumigation because some government agencies go about with fictitious documents passing the bills to the shipping companies, claiming to have fumigated products that have already been fumigated by exporters.” Some of the shipping agencies blamed terminal operators who had programmed for imports instead of exports.


    Source: www.punchng.com/