A cross-section of stakeholders at the meeting with members of Senate Committee on Marine transport in Lagos last week.
The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has charged the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) to train freight forwarders in the industry.
The Executive Secretary of the Counci; Mr Hassan Bello who gave the charge last week in Lagos, when the new governing board chairman of CRFFN, Alhaji Abubakar Tsanni, paid a working visit to the Shippers Council.
He told his guests that the Council has tried in the area of training the practitioners both in and outside the country.
He reiterated that for the industry to achieve its full potentials and save the economy, training of practitioners is key.
"Train your people, train the freight forwarders; the Nigerian Shippers’ Council has tried in this training. We have had series of trainings even overseas and here. So training is the key, the education of freight forwarders is the key so that they can save the economy", he pleaded.
He blamed lack of trainings as the major reason foreigners have taken over the freight forwarding business in Nigeria and pushing Nigerians out of the business.
Bello fingered training of freight forwarders as one of the cardinal reasons the CRFFN was set up.
"Nigerians have been pushed out of freight forwarding practice in the country. Why are we not competitive it’s because we have neglected trainings. Training is one of the cardinal reasons CRFFN was set up, the council was set up by freight forwarders themselves when they saw the need to be professionals. If lawyers could have their own association and engineers have theirs and so many of them like that, then freight forwarding should have a body that superintend or supervise professionalism", he argued.
He expressed disappointment that most practitioners in the sector are not professionals.
"The issue is that we are not professionals, that is why we have not grown. I have always given that example of somebody from my village who came to me that he wants to come to Lagos. When I asked him what he was going to do in Lagos, he said he is going to be a freight forwarder", he added.
According to him, there is urgent need for research on processes and procedures to be carried out.
The NSC boss also advised that the ports should be competitive as it helps to drive down cost of doing business.
"There should also be research as to the process and procedures to be carried out we has done that to some of them at the shippers council.
Capacity and efficiency of our ports, there should be competition because you known it drives down cost of doing business, it happens in the telecommunications industry. But here it doesn't happen because there is no competition and if there is no competition there could be collusion. You are equipped you have enough power in your laws to do that. There are lots of work and you have to sanitise the industry"
Bello advised the new governing board of CRFFN to ensure that he carries the maritime press along in their training, adding that the press can offer advise that will help move the sector forward.
"One thing I will advise is your cooperation with the press, the press in the maritime is very necessary, it offers advice on the economy issues, when you do your training, and you also include the training of the press because they have to appreciate what you are doing so that you will come together. The era of fake things and distortions are over they should come to reality, the industry should contribute more to the development of Nigeria more than any other industry"
He maintained that there is serious need for collaboration between the shippers council and the CRFFN for the progress of the sector.
"We also call for collaboration the council and CRFFN and even the associations we will like to be there with you. Come out boldly and say these are the things the board have been able to do and you will have respect from freight forwarders in other parts of the world", he concluded.