The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has called on the Nigerian freight forwarders to stand up and take credit for a lot of positive developments at the nation’s maritime sector, saying that it is only those who are very close that knows how much the associations and their regulators have fought against some policies of the federal government and of the industry.
The Executive Secretary of the NSC; Mr Hassan Bello who gave the charge in Lagos recently also said that sometimes, he had to count on the knowledge and the professionalism of freight forwarders in the execution of his job at the council.
Bello stated that there is no doubt that freight forwarders were recognized as one of the key intermediaries in international trade, adding that due to their expertise in various aspect of cross-border trade; freight forwarders are utilized by corporate and non-corporate entities to facilitate cross-border shipments.
He added that freight forwarders wear two caps in the sense that they could be agents of shippers overseas and then they also represent the consignee here in Nigeria or in their respective countries.
According to him,” Nigeria receives an average of 4,000 vessels of various capacities annually. Against this backdrop, there is no gainsaying that a lot of shipping and freight forwarding activities are carried out within the shores of this country on daily basis. This may involve movement of the goods from the origin to destination. It is impossible for maritime sector to function without an effective and complementary freight forwarding industry and some of the problems we are having is for lack of a structured freight forwarding practice because that is what we crave for.
“In recognition of expansion of global trade and supply chain integration has put greater emphasis on logistics particularly in the freight forwarding subsector. While in developed countries, freight forwarders benefit from competitive market and trade facilitating policies, this sector in Nigeria is a bit below logistics performance level. So, despite all the trade, we think the practice of freight forwarding ought to be all encompassing going through policies, going through provision of storage, cargo tracking, negotiations and many other things”.
While emphasizing the synergy in the Nigerian maritime industry, Bello said, “People should come together and work together. We have the same aim, be it shipping companies, terminal operators, the whole thing is growth, we have to grow the industry and make sure that this industry spills a lot of employment, this industry is responsible for economic growth and inclusiveness, it is responsible for GDP contribution and development of infrastructure”.