The Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA); Dr. Dakuku Peterside and the Secretary-General, International Maritime Organisation (IMO ) , Kitack Lim at the first global conference on sustainable blue economy which held in Nairobi, Kenya last week.
A University Don; Professor Iyiola Oni has said that the reputation of the freight forwarding industry in Nigeria is poor and there is need for more international exposure and training for the practitioners.
Prof. Iyiola who is also the Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Lagos, while delivering a lecture at the Freight Forwarder’s Day 2018 celebration held in Lagos last week, lamented that since the concept of freight forwarding was introduced into Nigeria, practitioners are merely exploring 10% of the inherent opportunities in the business.
According to him, freight forwarders ought to be the ones leading the export initiative drive, as well as conduct deep research and offer advice to the federal government on how to build human capacity development in line with international best practice.
The UNILAG don however commended organizers of the freight forwarders day; National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) for making the job more attractive and empowering its members through training and re-training.
“Why do we need training and professionalization? The industry’s reputation is a bit poor, initially in those days, the people that does clearing and forwarding are the ones that must have spent the school fees given to them by their parents, then they just strolled into Apapa and start the job, but today it is for the knowledgeable and erudite ones”
“Professionalizing customs clearing and forwarding business is very critical and I want to say this that NAGAFF has done so well, I am a teacher and that is why I am giving them an excellent pass mark”
“Research and innovation should come from the industry; it is the practitioners that are going to lead the way for the government. Since we became familiar with forwarders role in global chain supply, what we are supposed to be doing is still about 10% of what we are doing, which means there is still a very huge opportunity, we need to develop international relationships”, he said.
Prof. Oni described NAGAFF as an organization that believes in capacity building and training, According to him, NAGAFF has done so well by establishing its own Freight Forwarders Academy, and they also collaborate with the University of Lagos, as well as other programmes run by the CRFFN.
He harped on the need for on-line training programmes for freight forwarding practitioners, in line with international best practice, even as he advised NAGAFF to looking into creation of a website that would be interactive and ensure that freight forwarding as a course is taught online.
“I believe that one of these days, freight forwarding would also be taught online. We must have a very robust website for NAGAFF which must be very active and interactive so that we can have that international outlook and be able to partner with other innovators around the world”
“Freight forwarding should be practiced in line with international standard because it is an international business. Training and retraining of practitioners is not negotiable”, he said.