Ahead of planned take-off, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council has assured manufacturers and shippers that there would be no additional cost borne from the Electronic Cargo Tracking Note (ECTN). This is even as it stressed that the ECTN will address issues of insecurity, oil theft amongst others.
This assurance was made during an official visit of executive members of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) to the NSC at its headquarters in Lagos on Monday.
Recall that in February 2023, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the installation of Electronic Cargo Tracking Notes for seaports nationwide. It said the ECTN will tackle several challenges, such as the under-declaration, concealment and wrong classification of important cargo, which are the primary causes of revenue leakages, insecurity and safety issues at the borders.
In his welcome address to the visitors, the Executive Secretary of the NSC, Hon Emmanuel Jime noted that the re-launching of the ETCN has monumental importance in terms of having positive impact on the ease of doing business at the ports and the Nigerian’s economy at large.
Jime stated that the ETCN will address issues of insecurity, oil theft, under-declaration and other port challenges. He said that the cost implication will not cause any dramatic damage to the economy stressing that the cost will not be borne by Nigerian Shippers.
The Executive Secretary however appealed for the support of all manufacturers for the successful implementation of the device. He also urged them to desist from under-declaration and other forms of illegalities unfriendly to the Cargo Tracking Note.
“The Nigerian Shippers Council is essentially to mitigate the impact of cost on the conduct of business in our ports. Therefore we will also not sit back and allow the introduction of this device without taking consideration of how it will impact on the cost of doing business. On that score, The NSC and MAN are on the same page. My understanding is that the cost of the ETCN will not be borne by Nigerian Shippers.
“The cost implication has been located in a way that doesn’t do dramatic damage to the economy. However, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) is within their rights to seek clarification and be informed on what to be expected as far as Cargo Tracking Notes is concerned. The cost will be very minimal and let’s keep in mind that this cost has always been a shipping charge. It isn’t something that is really new. Nevertheless, we have to look at the real impact this will have on the Nigerian economy.
“Part of the challenges from the port sector has been the proliferation of small arms in the country. Some of these arms found their way into the ports and the reason is that we haven’t had a tool like the ICTN that will enable us to dictate from the origin to the arrival of such consignments on our shores. It makes more sense that with ICTN we can secure ourselves because no one wants to do business in an environment devoid of security.
“On the issue of crude theft which is a huge challenge to the nation’s resources, the ICTN will also address it. The problem of undervaluation of goods is something that can also be curbed by ICTN. These are some of the balancing factors that ICTN is going to bring.
“When you look at the bottom line, you can argue that there are more reasons to introduce ICTN than not to. There are immense benefits that will come to the nation’s economy from ICTN. The understanding we have at NSC is that this cost will not be borne by the Nigerian shippers” Jime said.
Speaking earlier, the immediate past Vice President of MAN, Chief John Aluya noted that Nigeria should be the hub of West African shipping, but because of the multiplicity of charges, it has become so uncompetitive, hence losing the patronage of landlocked countries.
Chief Aluya who is also a board member of NSC added that the manufacturer’s ultimate aim is to make sure that Nigeria becomes the hub of the West-African region in production. He however advised that all hands should be on deck to make sure additional cost is not added to the already overburdened cost of doing business in the port.
Aluya also informed that in the initial introduction of the CTN, it was agreed that exports should be excluded completely from the Cargo Tracking Note in order to promote export.
“Almost every issue at the port comes with additional costs. Nigerian ports are already over-taxed. Our shipping in Nigeria is too expensive already, as a nation Nigeria should be the hub of West African shippers but because of the multiplicity of our charges we have become so uncompetitive the landlocked countries are using a small country like Benin republic instead of Nigeria. This is because of too much charge.
“Manufacturer’s ultimate aim is to make sure that Nigeria becomes the hub of the West-African region in production; but if our costs keep rising we will be driving the land-locked countries from using our ports. We don’t pay these additional costs directly. It is the final consumer that pays because it would reflect on the final prices of our products.
“So whatever we do, I want to advise that we try as much as possible to make sure we do not add to the already overburdened cost of doing business in the port. Let us find a way to reduce this cost so that our ports can be attractive to sellers and shippers. We should open up our market for friendly
On his part, the Director, Corporate Services Division of MAN, Mr Ambrose Oruche maintained that the cost of ICTN is already embedded in the freight charges by the shipping lines and should not be passed on to shippers.
Oruche called on the NSC to effectively harmonize the cost of doing business at the ports and ensure the Introduction of the Cargo Tracking Note will not add to the cost which some of the shippers might not be able to afford.