The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has called on the Minister of Transportation; Mr Rotimi Amaechi to inaugurate the recently -elected members of Governing Council of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN).
The association has also threatened to blacklist some shipping companies including Maersk Line, CMA and Cosco shipping and stop them from freighting Nigerian bound cargoes for their principals who are the importers.
The association said in a press statement issued by its head of special duties, Emma Agubanze yesterday that the move was imperative because shipping companies operating in Nigerian were allegedly ripping- off customers by imposing frivolous charges.
The association appealed to Amaechi to take time off his schedule and inaugurate the Governing Board of CRFFN, saying that it is only the Council that can address the alleged high handedness of shipping companies and terminal operators.
Shipping Position Daily had reported exclusively recently that the Minister was prevaricating to inaugurate the council, allegedly because he was not satisfied with the caliber of individuals voted into the council and the manner at which the candidates were elected. This is even as resistance from some major maritime stakeholders, as well as series of litigations were reportedly standing against the council, a consideration which may have made the minister to be reluctant.
Lamenting the delay in inaugurating the CRFFN board, NAGAFF said in the statement that: “It is regrettable that up till now the Hon. Minister of Transportation due to his tight schedule is yet to inaugurate the Governing Board of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN)”.
“And for the emphasis, the Council has a tribunal where some of the heads of the shipping companies and terminal operators shall be brought to justice at any time their operations are in breach of regulations. Other than taking them up through civil litigation, the Council shall compile their various breaches for criminal proceedings”, the association stressed.
“It is our wish that there should be sanity and rule of law in the maritime transport and Customs facilitation”, it said even as it insinuated that there is no control because of the inability of CRFFN to have a board.
On the issue of exorbitant charges, NAGAFF said it is concluding discussions with other shipping lines like Lagos and Niger, PIL and One Ocean Network which it would soon advise its principals to make use of henceforth.
It also lamented the seeming slow pace of the Federal Government in addressing the prevailing corruption and alleged cheating on Nigerian maritime trade and transportation
NAGAFF also directed its members to wait for further directive in this regard before taking action on the shipping companies.
“It is time to draw the attention of all our principals to the seeming rip off being witnessed at the moment. It is time for self-regulation since we have all seen that Government is very slow in addressing the prevailing corruption and avoidable cheating on our maritime trade and transportation with emphasis on frivolous charges”.