Shippers’ Association Says SON, Police, NAQS Others Not Supposed To Be In The Ports

 The Shippers Association of Lagos State has said that in other to fasten cargo clearance in the ports, some government agencies like the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), the Nigerian Police and the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) should not be in the ports.  The President of the association, Rev Jonathan Nicole, who disclosed this recently in an interview withShipping Position Daily in Lagos, also said that shippers and freight forwarders are not also supposed to be in the ports. “There is no way you can fasten clearance of cargo, let me give you an example the government says, 48 hours cargo clearance but in the normal sense if everybody wants to do the right thing you can move you cargo within 24 hours. I have done that before and that is how it is supposed to be, it is part of doing business with ease in the ports. Justifying his position on how the presence of agencies and persons elongates the cargo clearance time, he said: “Shippers are not even supposed to enter the ports, freight forwarders are also not supposed to enter the ports. Our duty is to bring in the goods and follow the approve processes, pay your duties and all the charges and you will get your goods. Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) are not supposed to be in the ports. The Nigerian Police will know that they are supposed to provide security not examining cargo they are not trained to do so”. According to him, officials of NAQS should be present when and where goods are being loaded for exports and not within the ports. “Then ask yourself, what stops the quarantine to go at the base where they produce these goods and give them standards before the goods are moved to the ports. The ports is not a place for cargo examination, it is a transit for movement of the cargo to outside country, or they dedicate one or two terminals for exports. Why must they come to the ports to examine goods and are they doing it well”. “That they extended their functions to other areas doesn’t mean 50 years ago, we don’t do exports and imports in this country or we are not as prominent as they are now. Our colonial maters had control of the ports then, how come it has got to us and we cannot control it. We were known as export country in the early 50’s”, he observed. He also accused the Nigeria Customs Service of allegedly facilitating corruption in the ports instead of trade.“You don’t see someone as a smuggler. The first thing the Nigeria Custom do is to suspect every importer. That is the weapon they use, so no matter what you tell them you will still do one or two things, they will even prefer that you don’t have the complete documents. The cargo that does not have complete document moves faster than the one with complete documents. So how do you control that when the people who are supposed to facilitate trade are facilitating how they collect money?”Rev Nicole also advised that, for trade to be facilitated in our ports, all the anomalies should be corrected.