Tunji Obagbo (POTEMAN)
Palletisation is not a new thing in our maritime sector, when you open some containers, you will see that some of the cargoes are palletised, this is one of the reasons we have Plant Quarantine Services in the port, they check the wood that is used to palletise the cargoes, the purpose of palletisation is to make the consignment stand firm. It is not a joke, it has a purpose; cargoes that require palletisation have to be palletized or else it would damage the cargo. There is a convention for palletisation, this shows there is a special purpose for it. What I observed in this part of the world is that we like locomotive approach to everything, not until the advance countries have started utilising that policy, that is when we would remember we also have the policy, we always forget to carry out orientation, there should be continuous orientation of Nigerians on the palletisation policy.
Remi Ogungbemi (Chairman, AMARTO)
Palletisation is not in the best interest of the economy, I see it as going back to the colonial era, there were people we call 'wharf rats', most of the goods that come in cartons and pallets were being broached, this was why, in order to keep the goods intact, we started using containers, internationally, don't think palletisation is the best, containerisation is what has been recognized worldwide and Nigeria would not be different from other countries. Palletisation is a misplacement of priority, they should think of how to fix the bad roads instead of palletisation.
Azubuike Ekweozor (NAGAFF Tin Can Port)
I am not in support of palletisation because it is an old method of bringing in goods, we should be talking of moving forward and not going back to the past, putting goods into pallets would make some importers lose a lot of money because they would not be able to carry enough cargoes, the aim of every businessman in business is to gain and achieve, not that at the end of the day you will be counting loses. When you import cargoes through palletisation, customs would still charge what they usually collect on a full container and you as an importer would be losing, I don't support such an idea.
Farinto Kayode (National Publicity Secretary, ANLCA)
Government says that palletisation has come to stay, but I say that we have not heard the last of it, it would encourage our importers to divert their cargoes to ports of neighboring countries, the policy is not the solution to the problem we have on ground, government is failing in her responsibilities and it is shying away from it. The solution is to make the scanning machines at the port a PPP arrangement or to bring in investor to buy the machines; the scanner should also be able to scan our farm produce going for export. What I have against palletisation is that it would add to the cost of cargo clearance, it would also make space inside the container to reduce, if you want to bring in a 40- foot container ab-initio, with palletisation you would end up bringing two containers, with this, cost of freight is increasing and duty payment is increasing. Palletisation would divert 45% of our cargoes to neighboring countries.
Chief Increase Uche (NAGAFF)
It is a good policy which is in line with the globalization in shipping practice; it is a general norm that containerised cargoes should be palletised where necessary. Where the so-called item right from the manufacturer with the guideline allows the palletisation of cargo before loading, but where it doesn’t the filling method should be applied. But looking at the Nigerian business environment and the nation’s trading space, you will discover that Nigeria for now is not fully ripe to apply palletisation to the fullest. But we have to look at the agendum by the finance ministry; you will discover that they try to separate the different types of shipment and that those that the manufacturers guideline doesn’t specify that the cargo should be palletised should go by the manufacturers’ guideline.
Dr Obiora Madu (Multimix Academy)
I think the government has issued provisions with respect to some products, which means that the government is listening to stakeholders’ comments. So the stakeholders are a bit relaxed more than they were before now. Because it would have been difficult for some products to be palletised and a huge cost implication it would have brought on the people. So far so good, the recent position of the government shows that they are listening.
Otunba Kunle Folarin
Talking about the issue of palletisation, we are not a manufacturing country where pallets are used as part of packaging for goods that are manufactured. Since we are import-depended country, it means that the cost of palletisation is going to be an added cost in addition to freight, in addition to loading at the ports of loading and discharging at the discharge ports. So we have to ask ourselves whether we can afford these expenses. The second one is the cargo characterisation that is being palletized. It is not every cargo can be palletized; if you look at used spare parts or used goods it cannot be palletized, except you put them in cartons before palletisation and then it has added cost to the cost of goods and services.
Mr John Okpono (Merchant Navy)
One good thing about us is that we make noise on little issues, why is palletisation an issue here. In other parts of the world, this has come and gone, they should not be talking about that at this point in time, they should be talking about the access roads. They should repair these roads and let them work, the scanners are not working instead of them to concentrate on the things that matter they will be diverting attention. Is palletisation more important than the bad roads and scanners? They should be talking about things that are very important when we are talking about 24 hours ports operation, one should expect that the ports access roads should be working well.