Shippers Council Says Its Committed To Strong, Formidable Shippers Associations

Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) will ensure members become strong and formidable to negotiate with transport service providers on freight payable and associated cost.

HASSAN BELLO 08

Mr Hassan Bello, Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of the council, disclosed this when he received members of Abuja Shippers Association on Thursday in Abuja.

The NSC boss urged the association to ensure sanity in its membership and also ensure that they were not discouraged by shippers that were not genuine.

“The more organised you are the more you put pressure, not only on your negotiations but also on the government to do certain things.

`We have the Kaduna Dry Port for example, we have not exported anything for a year now because of rail problems which I am happy to announce is being addressed now, and we will soon resume export.

“So, I want you to be very organised, I want you to make sure that your organisation is not infuriated by those who are not shippers, make sure they are all shippers because I have been hearing in other places the takeover by people who have no business with import or export.

“NSC is under obligation to organise shippers. In fact, if we have strong shippers, then we will go and rest because the shippers will go themselves and negotiate terms of trade, the bill of laden, Incoterms and so many other things.

“Right now the balance is on the providers of services, the consumers of services have been taking a lot, even though shippers council has protected you from formal increase in cost, we have also increased the efficiency.”

Bello said that the Federal Government had commenced actions to increase efficiency of port operations through the Nigeria Port Process Manual (NPPM).

Mr Moses Fadipe, Deputy Director Special Duties, NSC, while speaking on the NPPM, said it would check excesses in the port industry.

Fadipe, who is the Coordinator of the Federal Government’s Port Tax Team, said the manual would provide timeline for every activity in the port from pre arrival of vessels to its departure.

He said:“It tells everybody who you are, what you do, how you do it and the timelines. So the consumer of that service will know at every point whether his right has been infringed.”

According to him, when a vessel comes into the Nigerian waterways, a timeline of 30 minutes is given to the port head, which is the first agency to come on board such vessels.

He said this was followed by the Customs, Immigration and NDLEA, adding that these agencies could not go independently but at the same time.

Fadipe said the team had a 24/7 functional web mail and only had physical interaction with actors when an infraction was discovered.

He urged members of the association to familiarise themselves with the manual and ask questions when and where necessary.

Fadipe also advised the shippers to ensure any freight forwarder they were engaging was abreast with the development in the industry through the NPPM.

The coordinator said government had also put an online portal in place, known as the Port Service Support Portal (PSSP.ng) to address any infraction meted to actors in the industry whether a service provider or service user.

He said the team have recorded over 35 infractions on the high sea from January till date and have dealt with it accordingly.

He however implored all stakeholders to key into the portal, saying that “its beauty is that as all actors are taking actions on your complaint, you are seeing it in real time.’

The President, Abuja Shippers Association, Emeka Madueke, said the forum would chat a way forward and redefine ways to achieve the aims of the association through stakeholders collaboration.

Madueke, who was represented by Mr Emmanuel John, the association’s Financial Secretary, said the forum would provide opportunity for stakeholders to rub minds on the challenges of shippers in Abuja.

“We have been working very closely with the shippers’ council here in Abuja, and we had a line up of programmes and activities before COVID-19 came and interrupted all of the stuff.

“We had recently met to revive all of the ideas and re-strategies to ensure that we have very robust shipping activity that is devoid of all the current concerns that we have,’’ he added.