A leading freight forwarding expert, and head Sea Empowerment Research Center, Dr. Eugene Nweke has called for a renewed focus on professionalism and regulatory effectiveness in the industry as the country enters 2024.
In a new year message to practitioners, Nweke outlined several challenges and opportunities facing the sector under the government’s “Renewed Hope Mantra.”
He highlighted various policy changes implemented in 2023, such as the establishment of the Marine and Blue Economy, the National Single Window project, and the new Customs laws, which are expected to disrupt the industry and necessitate professional adaptation.
Nweke further emphasized the need for greater unity and collaboration among freight forwarding associations to address these challenges and reposition the industry as a stronger link in the international trade supply chain.
Speaking further, he stressed the importance of sound knowledge and expertise in cargo description, classification, and trade regulations for ensuring compliance and professionalism.
He further advocated for domestication of applicable documentary procedures in line with international standards set by the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) to improve trade security and protect practitioners.
On issues surrounding Indemnity Letters, he recommends the use of Indemnity Letters in shipping and cargo clearance transactions to mitigate risks and liabilities associated with Bill of Lading (BOL) usages.
On issues pertaining to African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) implementation, he emphasized the need for specialization and competitiveness to participate effectively.
This is even as he cautioned against monopoly practices by freight forwarders and advises them to adapt to the new Customs laws that allow direct cargo processing by shippers.
Nweke also urged the government and Nigeria Customs Service to create a level playing field for all trade participants and address imbalances created by import racketeering and insider traders.
He concluded by calling for swift action and professional adaptation to embrace the upcoming changes in the industry under the Renewed Hope Mantra.