By Kenneth Jukpor
In a bid to drive efficiency, transparency in the nation’s port processes, the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hon. Emmanuel Jime has admonished shipping companies to ensure that their fees are tied to services rendered at the ports.
The NSC boss made this call during a courtesy visit to some shipping companies in Lagos yesterday, even as he stressed that service reflectivity would stem exploitative tendencies and arbitrariness in the sector.
Leading a top managerial delegation of the agency on the courtesy visits to Maersk Line and Meditaranean Shipping Company (MSC), Jime sought collaboration and cooperation of the private operators to ensure the continuity of the robust relationship they already had with NSC.
The NSC boss also stated that he wants shipping companies to operate and conduct their operations within the regulatory framework of the Council, adding that they are expected to give NSC team unfettered access to monitor their operations to ensure compliance to set standards.
Other issues raised by the NSC boss during the engagement include; ensuring shipping companies put in place a Customer Care desk to handle issues and complaints in a timely manner in line with best service delivery.
The Council’s helmsman called for full digitization of operational processes for greater efficiency, effective management of return of empty container, even as he added that there should be frequent interaction with customers.
Shipping companies were also instructed to adhere to government directives on evacuation of empty containers out of the country; ensure that consignees are not charged demurrage within the period of network down time; give adequate notification on the arrival of vessels and stemming of containers to shippers; and ensure prompt refund of container deposit within agreed period of ten days.
The need to attain twenty four hours port operation and incorporate multimodal approach to cargo delivery, was also stressed by the NSC boss.
In her response, the Managing Director, Maersk Line, Lara Lana expressed delight that NSC paid the visit to the company.
She lauded the Council for calling for the establishment of Customers Desk, positing that NSC is the only agency that placed the interest of their customers at the forefront.
However, she noted that Maersk Line has created mobile applications for their customers to aid their operations.
At the Mediterranean Shipping Company, the Managing Director, Mr Andrew Lynch, said deplorable access to port was one of the challenges facing their operations.
He affirmed their readiness to abide by NSC’s regulatory activities at the ports.
This information was disseminated via a press statement issued by NSC’s head of Public Relations, Mrs. Rakiya Dhikru-Yagboyaju.