Bello harps on need for freight forwarders to embrace best practice

Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hassan Bello has again reiterated the need for freight forwarders to adopt acceptable standards of practice in the freight forwarding profession for them to operate effectively and efficiently at the ports.

Speaking at a one-day sensitization seminar on standard practice and ethics of international trade for freight forwarders in Nigeria, Bello noted that despite the immense contribution of freight forwarders to the socio-economic development of Nigeria, the required industry best practice and standard is yet to be achieved.

Represented by the Deputy Director, Standards Services of the Council, Moses Oyebola, Bello said the identified gap necessitated the need for the seminar which he said was organised to help promote capacity building in the freight forwarding sector.

According to him, when practitioners adopt international best practice in their operations, it will help minimize unethical practices and ensure smooth clearance of goods at the ports.

“It is in this light that the NSC has packaged this enlightenment seminar to expose our freight forwarders to standard practices and ethical conduct in international trade. This therefore calls for more training and retraining of freight forwarders to ensure smooth end efficient clearance of goods at the ports,” he said.

Also speaking, maritime lawyer, Emeka Akabogu in his paper presentation titled “Industry Best Practices and Ethical Standard Requirements in Freight Forwarding Profession in Nigeria”, identified ignorance on the part of freight forwarders and clearing agents as a major course of delay in cargo clearance operation.

He stated that freight forwarders must be competent and constantly update their knowledge in modern clearance procedures and operations at the port in order to enhance the quality of services rendered to their clients.

According to him, the quality of clearing agents and freight forwarders operating at the ports depends greatly on whether the country will reap the revenue it should from port operations or not.

He called on the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) to enforce standards and ensure that no clearing agent is allowed to practice without meeting the licensing requirement under the extant laws including CEMA and the CRFFN Act.

“The NSC may also help in this regard by requiring shipping companies and terminal operators not to liaise with any customs broker or freight forwarder who does not have proof of requisite qualification.

“Interagency cooperation is also suggested between the Nigeria Customs Service and CRFFN for effective regulation of activities of freight forwarders.

“That way, it is easy for continuous monitoring and discipline of erring members of the profession,” he said. 

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