Shippers’ Council boss, Hassan Bello says concession has improved port operation

“There are investments [at the ports] and things have improved since concessioning. There have been transformation in the industry,” says Executive Secretary/CEO of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Barrister Hassan Bello.

Speaking yesterday in Lagos at a seminar organised by the Nigerian Port Consultative Council (NPCC), Bello said “there is no acrimony” between the NSC and terminal operators as might have been erronously believed in some quarters.

He said the court case instituted against the Council by terminal operators and shipping companies on progressive storage charges and shipping line agency charges were not borne out of acrimony or enmity but to seek interpretation of the law.

“We are not bittered about it. NSC should have gone to court itself to seek for interpretation. There is no acrimony or enmity and we represent everyone including the terminal operators and shipping companies,” he stated.

Also speaking at the one-day seminar with the theme “The Nigerian Port Industry: The Way Towards Appropriate Port Cost, Port Infrastructure and Port Regulation”, Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mallam Habib Abdullahi said pricing system in the ports across the country is based on principles of maintaining the service rendered by terminal operators and other service providers.

Abdulahi who was represented by the General Manager, Monitoring and Evaluation of NPA, Joshua Asanga said port charges are formulated based on basic principles.

He said: “The need to recover cost by who is providing the service, replacement value, of the service rendered determine pricing at the ports.

“Also, will you be able to replace the value that you are rendering and the need to make profit especially as an operator.

“We must take into consideration the need to ensure sustainability and availability of that service, if the service were given today, can we give it tomorrow?”

Speaking on the essence of the seminar, Chairman of NPCC, Otunba Kunle Folarin said: “The Seminar is tailored towards profering workable solutions to making our ports competitive in terms of effective cost, adequate infrastructure and superstructure.

“Also, [to create] a formidable regulatory mechanism in order to enhance the performance of the nation’s seaport and to reposition the place of Nigeria within the West Africa sub-region and in general, the global maritime trade domain.”

Meanwhile, the court case between terminal operators and the Shippers’ Council resumes before Justice Ibrahim Buba at the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos today.

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