The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has lamented over the standards of freight forwarding practice in Nigeria as being poorly rated despite its immense contribution to the socio-economic development of the country.
The Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NSC Barr. Hassan Bello said this in his opening address at a one-day training workshop, under the auspices of the NSC in collaboration with the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) and Vestracker AB.
The NSC boss who was represented by the Director of Commercial Shipping Services Mrs. Dabney Shall-Holma at the workshop titled: Filling the Professional Gap in ICT Driven Freight Forwarding Profession in Nigeria, emphasized that freight forwarders must be well exposed to standards of freight forwarding practice for them to operate effectively in the ports, adding that this will minimize unethical practices and promote efficient service delivery in our ports.
Similarly, the Co-founder/CEO of Vestracker Osam Kyemenu-Sarsah said, “Through the use of soft ware freight forwarders can improve and streamline their businesses by applying industry standards, our products is sold across the countries of West Africa and South Africa, in parts of Europe and South America. We are in Nigeria now to sell to the Nigerian freight forwarders because we felt there was a need to build capacity, we realized there was a huge gap in the use of technology to leverage their businesses, so through the NSC, this training was put together.
“The first training was organised two weeks ago through the Concerned Accreditation Freight Forwarding Associations (CAFFA) and we decided through the Shippers’ Council to organised this for the other freight forwarders who were not able to make it. The goal of this, is to let this companies see the need to move away from the statusquo, they need to move away from the manual processes they currently apply and employ international proccesses through the use of soft ware to communicate with their clients, store important documents, and to measure their productivity so that they can grow.” He stated.
While speaking to the press on the sidelines, the President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Prince Olayiwola Shittu said, “We know that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is expensive, we have negotiated with Vestracker to give us a Nigerian price that will encourage more people to be on the platform compared to if it is unnecessarily expensive. I think they are working on that. NSC has also assured us that they are going to mediate over the Cost issue. We also know that to obtain internet access is expensive to operate even from your phone but the advantages are more than what we are going to pay.”
Speaking on the perception of agents that the training was about Cargo Tracking Notes (CTN) Shittu said, “they are two different things entirely, Vestracker is used to promote your business; it makes your job easier, helps you to control your files, helps you with warehousing information, etc., CTN is being promoted by Shippers’ Council but the Council as a part of their responsibility as an economic regulator is bringing Technology ICT processes into doing freight forwarding business. So i think they are doing the right thing and this is definitely not CTN.”
In reaction to the claim by the Council that freight forwarding in Nigeria is of poor standards, he lamented, “there is something about the African way of life that make people refuse to pay money to be trained. We have that difficulty even in ANLCA, whenever we arrange training for people, in the end attendance is usually very poor, they will go back and start complaining about how things are difficult and their leaders are not helping them. people don’t like to spend their money to be trained, they forget that knowledge is power and we must seek knowledge. So we will continue to encourage our people to go for ICT.”
By Ifeoma Oguamanam