A retired Customs Comptroller, Christopher Banye has said that the Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) a scheme introduced by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council few years ago has not done much to ameliorate delays experienced in the cargo clearance process at Nigerian ports.
Banye who was also immediate past Board of Trustees Chairman of Association of Registered Freight Forwarders of Nigeria (AREFFN) described the CTN as insignificant, saying that it does not tell much, especially as importers are now groaning under delays experienced in clearance of goods.
Three years ago, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, (NSC had said that the Cargo Tracking Note will rather checkmate the issue of under declaration and add value to port operation.
However, the customs retired Comptroller said the only information provided by the CTN is the number of containers a ship is bringing into the country from another foreign port.
Banye also argued that, if government can purchase scanning machines at the ports to complement the instrumentality of the CTN, some of the delays at the port would not be there.
"CTN does not help the clearance procedure, it only tells us that this is what the ship is carrying as quantity, this is the quantity it is carrying from the foreign port and we want to know if this is exactly what it came with to Nigeria, it does not actually help in the cargo clearance process and this is why in my opinion it doesn't really tell us much"
"But then, on the route, if hijackers attack a vessel on the highseas and they tamper with cargo, the tracking note will trigger off somewhere, so we don't need to wait until the vessel arrives before we know about the distress call"
"Customs would only rely on ship manifest which is submitted electronically. When it comes to declaration , the tracking note does not really help much"
"There is so much delay at the port, but you cannot trace it to one single agency, it is multi faceted and a lot of agencies are involved, you have to position your container for examination and this causes delay, and this is where the cargo tracking doesn't solve the issue"
"But if we had cargo tracking and scanning, some of the delays would not be there. And these contacts and handshakes across tables would not be there, in some countries, as the ship arrives and containers are being dropped, it is scanned immediately and placed on the truck for exit " he said.
Compt. Banye lamented that Nigerian mporters are currently groaning due to high cost of transportation of cargoes to various destination which has increased due to dilapidated access roads.
The Shippers’ Council had said CTN will assist the Nigeria Customs Service to its risk mitigation on imports, enhance and block revenue leakages at the ports.
Cargo Tracking Note as a security measure which was introduced about four years ago by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is to ensure safety and security of goods shipped from one part of the world to another.
The regulation requires shippers to have a Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) accompanying all shipments.
It stipulates that shippers must obtain a Cargo Tracking Note from the appointed representative at all ports around the world. “The Cargo Tracking Note is to be issued at the port of loading and the CTN numbers inserted in the Bill of Lading (B/L) and cargo manifests, he argued.