By Kenneth Jukpor
In a bid to play a more proficient economic regulatory role at the ports, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) would deploy members of staff to terminals and shipping companies from next week.
The Executive Secretary, NSC, Mr. Hassan Bello revealed this yesterday during a routine visit to shipping companies in Lagos.
According to Bello, the move to have NSC staff deployed to shipping conpanies would ensure that the Council is better placed to monitor the activities of shipping companies.
During the visit to CMA CGM and the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) yesterday, the NSC boss also engaged the freight forwarders to get their appraisals of the shipping companies.
According to Bello, the visit was necessitated due to complaints received from customers of shipping companies with regards to their operations.
His words: “We know there are some issues with shipping companies and from time to time we need to discuss them, especially now that we are in the peak season as the Christmas and new year deliveries approach.”
“NSC has received lots of complaints concerning the delivery of cargo especially on the cost of doing business which has gone up astronomically in the country. However, this high cost of doing business cannot be attributed to organizations like the shipping company or terminals. What we have is a failure of infrastructure especially the roads leading to the port, denying access to the port.”
“So, there is a problem of evacuation and delivery of cargo and the Federal Government is looking at that in three ways. The construction of the road leading to Tin Can Island Port, Oshodi-Apapa expressway reconstruction which is a little bit slow and the Council will urge government to pay more attention to it. The third strategy is the rail and Apapa port is being linked to the rail. We have all these ongoing and we expect the gridock to disappear and the extortion will also disappear with it in the first quarter of 2021.”
While urging port users to be patient and optimistic that the port access gridlock would disappear by March 2021, Bello noted that no shipping company or terminal had increased charges in recent years.
He also assured that the Council is working assiduously to curb extortion of truck drivers on the port corridor and stated that the electronic truck call-up system championed by Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) would address the issue.
Meanwhile, the Managing Director of CMA CGM, Nigerian Shipping Limited, Mr Lionel Odeyer, said the company would be having container terminal operations by 2023 at the Lekki deep seaport.
He also noted that the company would increase its capacity in Nigeria, have holding bays and would encourage customers to do transactions online.