The Nigerian Shippers’ Council has waded into the crisis at PTML Terminal over series of complaints trailing the issuance of biometric identity card to freight forwarders before accessing the port to do business. It has ordered the terminal operator to issue the card based on identity cards issued by the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN)
At a closed door meeting with the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) and Grimaldi Shipping , operators of the PTML terminal at the Shippers’ Council headquarters in Apapa Lagos yesterday, the Council directed that both the Customs License and the CRFFN Act should be recognized in issuance of port access cards.
Speaking exclusively with Shipping Position Daily at the end of the meeting, Director of Monitoring and Compliance of the council, Chief Carjetan Agu said that it was wrong for Grimaldi Shipping to unilaterally introduce a charge of N10,000 on port access card without first notifying the agency as the port economic regulator.
He told our correspondent that the meeting was inconclusive and that the council is also fixing another meeting with Grimaldi Shipping alone in one week time, so as to look into the cost of issuing the card.
The Shippers’ Council director promised that the agency would liase with Nigeria Customs Service and the CRFFN to see how both can come up with a single acceptable procedure for issuance of port access cards.
Agu said that: "We have resolved certain aspects, but there are certain aspects that are still pending, the issue of processes and procedures for the issuance of biometric identity card, NAGAFF contention is that why should they use customs license, rather they should use evidence of registration with CRFFN"
"The position of the shippers council is that the CEMA law and CRFFN Act are both recognized, so the operators supposed to obey the two laws, on the part of the shippers council, we can liaise with the CRFFN and the customs to see how they can both come up with a common procedures and processes to be utilized for such registration"
"On the issue of the money being collected by the PTML, it is purely an economic issue, so shippers council as a regulator is still going to meet with the operator to discuss on that"
"We equally made it very clear during the meeting that PTML never contacted us before the introduction of the new , we were not contacted, and we were equally sure that they did not contact the NPA, so it is wrong for them to introduce it unilaterally, we are going to discuss this with them in our capacity as a regulator"
"These are two laws and you cannot say that you are ignoring the CRFFN law, information reaching us is that at other terminals, if you have a CRFFN identification card, you can be granted access card into the termimal. So we have asked them to recognize both the customs license and the CRFFN identity card" he said
Agu said the next meeting would hold within one week.
Also speaking with Shipping Position Daily, Deputy National President of NAGAFF, Mr Ugochukwu Nnadi said that NAGAFF had insisted at the meeting that even if PTML would continue to issue the card, it must not be at a cost.
"Secondly we are demanding that issuing the card should not be license based"
"The meeting was not concluded, the shippers council director promised to call for another meeting next week after he has met in another meeting with PTML alone" he said
General Manager of Grimaldi, Tunde Keshinro, and Deputy Managing Director Nitin Senan were in attendance at the meeting while NAGAFF executives were led by the chapter chairman, Mr George Okafor and Mr Ugochukwu Nnadi.