Shippers’ Council Calls For The Reduction Of Human Interference In The Ports

The Nigeria Shippers’ Council (NSC) reiterated its call for a reduction of human interference in port operations; it says that this will help to fight corruption in the nation’s seaports.The council said this yesterday during an enlightenment seminar on the ethics, integrity in international trade and the need for shippers and freight forwarders to comply with customs clearance procedures. It was organised by Nigerian Shippers Council in collaboration with the Nigerian Customs Service, in Lagos.Speaking during the seminar, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council; Mr Hassan Bello, who was represented by the, Director Monitoring and Enforcement; Chief Cajetan Agu, said that in modern ports you hardly see human influx.He stated that there was an urgent need of an automated ports system. He also maintained that there is serious need for the sector to embrace a single window system."As far as human interference is still involved in the ports, corruption will be inevitable; take for example the issue of physical examination. The government should ensure that the single window system works in the country it is working in other ports and it will reduce corruption", he told the participants.He also maintained that in addressing the issue of cargo delays, the police should stop intercepting containers on transit."If the police has a report about a container, they should follow it to its final destination or warehouse, not stopping it on the road because it is causing delays and unnecessary traffic”, he added.Chief Agu also urged importers on the need to make a sincere declaration of their cargoes."When cargoes are sincerely declared and proper documentation made in line with established guidelines, government will have more trust in the shippers and international trade will become easier and less cumbersome", he noted.Meanwhile, a maritime lawyer, Barrister Emmanuel Nwagbara, has said that Apapa ports have been desecrated.He also called on the transportation ministry to ensure that the ports are cleansed.Speaking at the seminar, Nwagbara noted that, "In a situation where businesses are no longer going well, residents are always scared of coming home when its late, owners of businesses are relocating because of bad roads. The ministry of transportation should do something in cleansing Apapa."In the same vein, the founder of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) Dr Boniface Aniebonan, said that the trade is being destroyed in Nigeria.He also urged the Nigerian Shippers Council to be more active.