By Kenneth Jukpor
Truck owners have drummed up support for the Federal Government amid plans to introduce insurance as a substitute for container deposit in the nation’s port sector.
A chieftain of the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Alhaji Inuwa Mohammed revealed this during an exclusive chat with MMS Plus in Lagos, last week.
Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) is partnering the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) to finalize the framework to have insurance paid by shippers to cover the empty containers.
Describing the empty container conundrum as a major bottleneck which has seen shipping companies convert trucks to container holding bays while raking in huge sums as container deposit, Inuwa itemized the problem as one of the most challenging issues in the nation’s port sector.
His words: “As long as shipping companies have something to benefit by delaying the containers, they would continue to frustrate the country with the empty container conundrum. So, insurance replacing container deposit is a good development because the shipping companies would have nothing to benefit by tactically refusing to receive their containers. Insurance is a good solution that would stimulate shipping companies to speedily receive their containers.”
“At the moment, the longer it takes to return the container the more profit shipping companies make through container deposit. Insurance would set a benchmark so that they can’t collect more than a certain limit and they will be forced to improve their facilities.”
Recall that freight forwarders and other transport veterans have equally endorsed the insurance alternative as a substitute for container deposit which sees Nigerian shippers lose over N1.7billion yearly.