Foreigners Exploit Gaps In Freight Forwarding To Dominate Sector

Foreigners Exploit Gaps In Freight Forwarding To Dominate Sector

Indigenous freight forwarders have expressed fear of Indians, Chinese, Koreans and Lebanese currently and nearly monopolising the entire maritime trade due to discordance among local freight forwarders, thereby posing threat to Nigerians’ participation in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.

The former Interim President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Ujubuonu Pius, said foreigners dominate Nigeria’s trade from point of manufacture, logistics to clearance at port of loading and clearance at the port of the discharge, local logistics to the warehouse of the importer and even open windows for retail.

He said the threat to the freight forwarders in Nigeria is multi-dimensional, internal and external, noting that the many fragmented associations and groups speaking and working across purposes have given room for foreign domination of the business in the country. Pius said the discordance among the freight forwarders is unhealthy for advocacy to save the business from foreign invasion.

“The Nigerian government tends to bemoan unemployment and the number of persons that will be pushed out of job will be massive. It is important that the different freight forwarding associations had unanimity of purpose to deal with an obvious threat.

“The only point of checking undue profiteering and wanton fleecing of the trading public will be structured closing ranks by the trading community through formation of sane, calculated and focused advocacy movement,” Pius said.

The National Secretary, Association of Registered Freight Forwarders of Nigeria (AREFFN), Obiekezie Francis, said foreigners are aware of the little or non-existence cohesion among the freight forwarding associations and are poised to exploit it maximally.

He said while no association can do it alone, there is urgent need for the indigenous freight forwarding community to close ranks in the interest of their trade generally and that of the budding forwarders, in particular.

“The mandate is on the associations’ presidents and secretaries to rise to the occasion immediately and salvage the business at this auspicious time,” he said.

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