LIBERIA: House Summons NPA, APM Terminals For Clarity On Demurrage Charges

Capitol Building, Office of the Liberian lawmakers

Plenary of the House of Representatives has summoned the managements of APM Terminals and the National Port Authority (NPA) to appear before that body to show cause, if any, why the President’s mandate on the cancellation demurrage charge is not being implemented.

It can be recalled that NPA Managing Director Bill Twehway announced recently at the Ministry of Information regular press conference that the NPA has begun the implementation of President George Weah’s mandate on the cancellation of demurrage charges at the port.

However, the House decision to invite the APN Terminals and the NPA Management came as a result of a communication from Grand Bassa County District #3 Representative Matthew Joe during Tuesday’s session of the body.

Joe requested that the relevant authorities should appear to state reasons why they are still collecting or receiving demurrage fees in disregard to the mandate of President Weah.

Demurrage is a charge payable to owners of a chartered ship in respect of failure to load or discharge the ship within the agreed time, which is based on the length of time goods are kept in the facility of a port.

According to the Grand Bassa County lawmaker, in February 2019, the management of the NPA issued a statement cancelling demurrage for overstayed containers, something he said the management of APM Terminals has not fully complied with in keeping with the President’s mandate through the NPA.

Joe indicated that one of the reasons for President Weah’s decision to cancel demurrage is to enhance the port’s operational efficiency and to decongest the containers’ park as well as relieve consignees of extra financial burden.

He also disclosed that in April of this year, President George Weah again ordered demurrage on all containers cancelled, allowing people to only pay other fees than demurrage.

Joe stated that he and some of his colleagues of the 54th Legislature have been denied access to their goods or vehicles on the basis of demurrage after it was ordered cancelled.

In a motion filed by Sinoe County District #3 Representative, Matthew Zarzar, it was unanimously voted upon by members of the House of Representatives that the management appear on Tuesday, June 4, at 10:00 am to answer to the charges.


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