By Chinonye Anyatonwu.
The chief Executive Officer of Bontex Nigeria Limited, Mr. Boniface Okoye has said that the Nigeria Shippers Council (NSC) contributed to the failure to effectively regulate shipping companies operating in the country as one of the major reason for gridlock persistent at the ports.
Mr. Okoye stated these last week in Lagos at
the Maritime Journalists Association of Nigeria, (MAJAN) first quarter review of the sector, blamed Shippers council as the cause of Apapa gridlock since they are the one that controls shipping companies.
Okoye said regulatory Failures over the years have created the problem of gridlocks on Apapa ports corridor as shipping companies do not take the empty containers back to the countries of origin because importers are forced to forfeit huge deposits on the containers.
He said container owners are expected to pay close to N200,000 and above to shipping companies as Container Deposit Fund, before they are allowed to take delivery of their goods out of the port.
It was alleged that some officials of Shippers Council are part of the ‘cabal’ frustrating the efforts of the federal government in creating enabling friendly business environment at the ports.
Okoye said that if government task shipping companies to pay container deposit into Federal Government account, it will help to ease the Apapa gridlock.
The president of Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Hon. Tony Iju Nwabunike while speaking at the MAJAN event said with all the charges freight forwarders are meant to pay, will not still be well managed due to inadequate infrastructure at the ports.
“If required infrastructure are well managed, the Maritime sector can become the economic mainstay of the country”.
Nwabunike advocated a constant government and stakeholders dialogue where issues are holistically dissected and resolved in the interest of the Maritime sector and nation’s economy at large.
He said, ” I want a proper planning in the Maritime sector by the Government and also wants operators to act with integrity at all times.
Operators especially freight forwarders should not cut corners. And mind you it is only when we as agents/ freight forwarders put our acts together that we would be respected”.
The ANLCA president commended MAJAN for their contribution in the development of the country’s Maritime sector, adding that events such as this has a way of shapping both government, regulators and operators conduct.
He equally blame freight forwarders for not putting their house together. He wants a proper planning in the Maritime sector by the Government and also wants operators to act with integrity at all times.
Another guest speaker at the event, the Chief Executive Officer of NURWAGS International Services Limited, Mr Nura Wagani, said there is need for adquate safety equipment to be put in place to respond to distress calls.
He pointed that barge operation has been an early means of transporting goods, but that the current trend of barging started when in 2018, the former managing director of the Nigeria Ports Authority flagged off the barging operation from the Ikorodu Lighter Terminal.
According to him, the operation has had its ups and downs as he said that most of the barges used were those used as local content materials in the oil communities in the Niger Delta area.
He raised the issue of channels that have been impeded with a lot of wreckages and wastes that have been dumped inside water which needed to be cleared through dredging.
Mr. Wagani also noted that multiple taxation by the authorities affect businesses negatively and that a lot of time, the terminals do not give operators the window to access the terminals and discharge the cargoes thereby causing a waste of time and resources.
Mr. Wagani advocated for the set up of the Maritime bank to cater for the needs of the industry as he concluded by asking the media to help highlight the issues that are abound in barge operation in the country.
He concluded by asking the three regulatory agencies in barge operation- NIWA for crew certification, NIMASA for barge certification and the NPA for the business regulation to live up to their billing and seek the necessary innovation that will enhance the business of barge operation in the country.
Leave a Reply