Resident maritime reporters have been commended for their vibrancy in reporting issues and setting agenda for stakeholders in the industry.
The Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer (ES/CEO) of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Barr. Hassan Bello gave the commendation while delivering a goodwill message at a one day seminar organized by the Nigerian Ports Consultative Council in Lagos, last week.
The Shipper; Council boss who said he was impressed with the performance of the maritime reporters, opined that the reporters gave more of knowledge and information even as he said that if anyone needed any information, all he should do was to turn to maritime pages of the print and electronic media.
He said, “We no more see posting of customs officers as headlines, now you see the trends in the economy, we see the port charges in other ports comparative issues that will guide our system here. I really commend the maritime press”.
He further commended the achievements recorded so far in the maritime industry since the ports were concessioned out to private operators adding that there has been a tremendous investment in the sector which according to him had never been in place prior to concession.
On the court cases between the Council, the terminal operators and the shipping line agencies, he quipped,” these cases are not bitter. I have always said that the Nigerian Shippers’ Council should have gone to court itself. We are just looking for interpretation and anybody could have gone to court because a regulator represents everybody”.
The NSC boss however added that there were some other things that had to be looked into particularly the Federal Ministry of Transport which had been marshalling and guiding the reforms in the maritime industry that had outwitted others noting that the transformation that had been brought to bear in the industry was unprecedented.
According to him, “recently, NPA (Nigerian Ports Authority) introduced two important issues about e-payment. This is revolutionary; it has not been done before, cases where you spend six days to make payment now you do in a matter of seconds”.
“The Nigeria Customs officers you meet in the meeting and they sit down and debate on tariffs, they debate on risk assessment, very intelligent officers and of course, the issue of automation is being led by the Nigeria Customs. These are physical progress that you see every day”.
“The freight forwarders who I call the philosopher king of the maritime industry is there everywhere initiating the maritime policy, they are at vantage position. I have seen the contributors they have made”.
While recounting the achievements of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), he reminded them that there was a lot to be done calling for synergy so as to create a level playing ground.