I expect them to look into the problems affecting most of the freight forwarders at the port especially the issue of transportation which is expensive. Before containers move out of the Western port at the moment, one will have to pay a lot of money and nobody is concerned about it. The transporters are smiling to the bank while the freight forwarders are suffering.The new council needs to curtail some of their excesses in arbitrary charges because some of the shipping companies are not being regulated and Shippers’ Council is not doing enough. I see no reason why customs and other security personnel still check containers that have been cleared at the port.This is a hindrance to trade facilitation and the issue of double charges at the port needs to be addressed. I believe these are the issues the governing council should start looking into as soon as possible.
My expectation from the newly appointed governing council is very high. They need to make effective regulation in terms of ensuring compliance by all the associations of freight forwarding.Freight forwarders should know the do’s and don’ts in the industry, know their rights and what is expected of them and when the policies of government are not well formulated.The council is not just there to serve themselves and ensure their interest is protected; they are on board to serve the interest of every freight forwarder in the industry. One of their responsibilities is to make sure there is capacity building because this will ensure that every freight forwarder knows his or her right. The council should address the problems coming from the shipping companies because they force people to pay demurrages through their nose. Shippers’ Council cannot do it alone; every hand must be on deck to give solutions to all these challenges. Also, the council has to do something about the road leading to the ports; it is in a deplorable state and this has made a lot of importers in Nigeria bring in their goods from neighbouring countries like Benin Republic, Togo, Ghana and so on.I don’t know the methodology the CRFFN has put in place to ensure that the Federal government gives a listening ear to them and also carry out the functions of the association properly.
The expectation is for them to carry out the functions that have been assigned to them by the CRFFN Act.They should reposition the freight forwarding family along the mandates given to them by the Act. The CRFFN Act was conceived since 2007 and is very clear on what the council should do. First and foremost, they have to up their game when it comes to training and re-training of freight forwarders to professionalize the industry, get the best practices out of them and make them strong and dynamic professional bodies. The council has to make sure that it is only those who are trained as professional freight forwarders that are practising in the field and not fake freight forwarders; professionals are meant to have the RFF (Registered Freight Forwarder) tag which means the freight forwarder would have been trained, registered and his or her name must be in the register of freight forwarders in Nigeria. Also, the CRFFN board is supposed to have an onboard man in the sense that if there is any infraction, there is a body you can report to and the person is actually meant to be a member of the council. Once the governing council work in accordance with the Act, everything will move on effectively.
I hope that the governing council will put the priority of freight forwarders first, and have the capacity to discharge the expectations in the maritime sector. Their priority should be training and retraining of freight forwarders; equipping them with knowledge of developments at the international frontier in maritime trade facilitation. Also, the council should tackle anything that has to do with transport. The governing council members are experts, they should use their expertise to tackle the challenges in the ports.
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