The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), has debunked alleged claims of high cost of operating the Cargo Tracking Notes (CTN) to importers and freight forwarders.
In a chat recently, with freight forwarders and other maritime stakeholders, the Executive Secretary of NSC, Barr. Hassan Bello said “The issue raised by freight forwarders is; whether it will incur additional cost to Nigerian port users and we have assured them that it will not, it is at no cost to the shipper.
“it will also not occasion delay because it is electronic. The CTN that was introduced about three years ago brought a lot of delay, and it was not accepted by the industry because it had cost attached. But this one is at no cost to the economy and directly at no extra cost to the shippers.” He added.
Bello stated that the CTN has been introduced to the freight forwarders, because as the practitioners, they are very vital and they have raised one or two questions which are being worked on.
He added that the Council started with the Nigeria Customs Service and has met with the Comptroller-General of Customs Alhaji Abudullahi Dikko, as Customs is key to its success and Customs has been very responsive.
He asserted that manufacturers association of Nigeria (MAN), Nigeria Association of Chamber of Commerce Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), trade group, shippers and of course carriers, shipping companies and terminal operators will be introduced into this project because this is also cardinal to the function of the Council as an economic regulator.
According to him, “the most important thing is that we have formulated our forum with the shippers and the freight forwarders which will be done every month. The meeting will spill over with other issues of extreme importance since they have supported the CTN based on what we explained to them that it has no cost attached.
“CTN will achieve three things; it will fasten the process of clearance at the ports in the sense that we have advanced information of the cargo that is coming and it can be processed by the Customs, terminal operators, shipping companies, Plant Quarantine, NAFDAC and every other agency at the port since the information is coming in advance.
“The issue of compliance will be strengthened because unfortunately Nigerians do not comply, they under-declare the goods they want to import, but with the CTN, they cannot do that because it is very transparent and Shippers’ Council will be able to see everything, including other agencies. This is the beginning of the new port order, we are talking about transparency, predictability and efficiency.
“We are now addressing the Standing Operating Procedures (SPOs) of every agency in the port, in port community system, there has not been synergy. All the agencies are doing things in different direction and Shippers Council has come to introduce supervision, integration, equilibrium, balance and synergy in ports operation.
“We have to thank all the agencies that sent us their SPOs, together with the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), so that at any time we know what an agency is doing; the Immigration, Plant Quarantine, Port Health, the Customs, NPA, NIMASA and all the other operating agencies, we have to get their SOPs, look at them and dialogue with them.
“The idea is to remove waste areas that delay procedures at the port and reduce cost. When we streamline all these, we are going to have an all-encompassing stakeholders’ meeting where we are going to launch our SPOs. That will be binding on all stakeholders.” He explained.