The Executive Secretary/Chief Executive of the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Barrister Bello Hassan, has listed some achievements and challenges faced by the Council in its bid to ensure the industry’s potentials are maximally harnessed.

Bello, who was represented by a Director in the Council, stated this at the 2nd All Maritime Journalists Retreat, organised by the Association of Maritime Journalists of Nigeria (AMJON), at the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria, Topo, Badagry, Lagos.

According to the Chief Executive, “In pursuance of relationship between providers and users of shipping and port related services, the NSC constituted a Committee in April 1997 to review reach agreements on the disputable charges nomenclatures which NSC reduced the nomenclature of tariffs from twenty-two (22) – six (6) numbers of nomenclatures as follows:

“Developed and launched a Standard Operation Procedure for all service providers both public and private which is meant to streamlines clearing procedure of all service providers in reducing delays in cargo handling process which is a huge component of cost.

“Secured through a court process the abrogation of the shipping line agency fee, container cleaning fee which have reduced the cost of doing business in the ports.. The standardization of container cleaning fee has been reviewed downward from #4,000 and #6,000 per 20ft and 40ft  container to #1,500 and #2,500 respectively giving us a saving of about six hundred and fifty Million (#650,000,000) Naira using 2011 cargo throughput alone. It also secured a reduction of (10days) from 3 months for returned of container deposit.

The NSC boss also stated that “an MOU is about to be signed between the Council and providers of shipping/shipping agency services which will also come with a framework for future review of tariff rates and charges”.

The NSC also “carried out a trucks survey marshaling along Apapa/Mile2 axis, which found an average of 5000-7000 truck queuing along Apapa ring roads, but the actual figures that has genuine business for entry and exit of the port are 2500 daily.

It was also revealed that the NSC established a Port Service Support Portal (PSSP), an online portal to integrate the maritime industry for ethics and fair trade practices through prompt redress mechanism of issues arisen from the course of business activities in the port

On some of the challenges, the NSC identified resistance to regulation by both public and private agencies. “This is because it was not easy for a regulatory enhancement system as the former created monopoly rather than increasing competition in effect, public monopoly was inadvertently replaced by private monopoly”.

Also, “litigation: in-spite the expression of acceptance and pledge of co-operation by service providers at the time of consultation. This is due largely to the non-passage of the port and Harbor and the National Transport Commission (NTC) bills twelve (12) years after port reforms, which has its concomitant adverse effect on regulation of the sector”.

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