The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), has disagreed with the Tincan Island Container Terminal (TICT), on the notice given to shippers and authorities by the terminal on their preparedness to work on public holidays.
This is against the backdrop of argument by agents and other port users of the futility in this exercise since government agencies do not work on those days.
The Managing Director TICT, Mr. Etienne Rochers who received a delegation of the officials of the Council, led by the Executive Secretary, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Barr. Hassan Bello, during a courtesy call, stated that the terminal is obligated to deliver, 24 hours 7 days a week, service as stipulated in the concession agreement of 2006.
In his words, “it is our firm belief that in the interest of trade, the ports should perform 24/7, not only on the ship side but also on the land side and i think it is even provided in the Nigerian laws that areas of public service needs to operate even on public holidays and if the ports is not regarded as a place of public service it will difficult to identify an area that is.
“Inspite of the relevance of agencies that may or may not operate, we have been able to deliver to importers on public holidays, volumes which very much compare with what we do on normal working days, so we cannot talk for others, we can only talk of the obligations we have in relation to what we agreed upon.” He further explained.
Earlier while addressing the issue of efficiency in port operations, Barr. Bello expressed disapproval with the crowd of freight agents and other port users both outside the terminal gate struggling to gain access into the premises and those inside sitting and waiting to be attended to within the terminal.
He frowned at the absence of an automated clearing system which he says is not professional.
According to him, “Automation will solve most of the problems of the ports because as we came into your terminal right now, we saw a large crowd of agents and we thought situations like this is a thing of the past because human contact breeds corruption but with technology there is transparency.”
He stated that NSC is working on providing an Advanced Cargo Information System that will be available to all stakeholders to aid ports efficiency and transparency and also to create a port that interfaces with companies and not individual agents.
He added, “one of the criteria for measuring port efficiently is by reducing cargo dwell time and i urge you to freely let the Council know your challenges so as to talk to the government on your behalf because it is the responsibility of the Council to make sure that whatever impediments the terminal has is removed.”