A maritime lawyer; Emmanuel Nwagbara has charged the newly-inaugurated governing board members of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) to work more on training and retraining of freight forwarders.
Nwgbara , gave this charge in a chat with Shipping Position Daily in Lagos last week.
He maintained that practitioners in the sector are expected to be very knowledgeable in the business if trade facilitation.
"It is very heart-warming to note that the CRFFN governing board has finally been inaugurated. Freight forwarding is a very important aspect of maritime business and therefore practitioners are expected to be very knowledgeable in the business of trade facilitation. They are also expected to be capable, that is to say that they should have capacity to discharge their expectations in the maritime value chain. Therefore the task before the new CRFFN governing board is to give priority to training and retraining of freight forwarders"
"They should also focus on equipping the freight forwarders with knowledge of the development at the international frontier in the maritime trade facilitation"
He reiterated that it is only freight forwarders who are knowledgeable to play in the movement of cargo within and across frontiers that will participate in the new convention on combine transport.
"We expect that no long after the new convention on combine transport will come into effect and it will require that only freight forwarders who are capable, knowledgeable and ready to play in the movement of cargo within and across frontiers. Therefore they should also focus on building capacity for freight forwarders to be able to play their role in the coming dispensation. They should focus on possibility of mergers and acquisitions, that is they should have a programme that would encourage freight forwarders to come together to develop capacity to transport cargoes. So that when the new dispensation comes into play, the Nigerian freight forwarder will not be pushed out of business", he advised.
The lawyer also urged the new governing board to train the freight forwarders to ensure that they attain the international standard.
"We need that the regulatory body like CRFFN should regulate the freight forwarding industry in such a way that licensed freight forwarders attain capacity which will be in line of the requirement of the new International Convention that will involve, door-to-door carriage of goods across international frontiers with particular emphasis on Nigerian maritime space. So practitioners should be made to know and assisted to know that they need to merge and join resources together and acquire equipment that will enable them perform so that the international shipping companies which will necessarily require their services will not be justified in throwing them out of the market. But will find that they are ready and capable to be hired and perform the national leg of maritime transportation", he concluded.