Shippers’ Council boss links port problem to poor freight forwarding practice

A good chunk of the problems at the nation’s seaports would be solved if freight forwarders are well trained and if they conduct themselves professionally, says Executive Secretary/CEO of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Barr. Hassan Bello.

Speaking yesterday when officials of the Nigerian Institute of Freight Forwarders and Customs Brokers (NIFFCB) paid a courtesy call on him at the NSC Head Office in Apapa, Lagos, Bello said that because of the important role freight forwarders play in international trade, there is need for practitioners to have the requisite knowledge not only of clearance of cargo at the port but also of delivery.

He said the Shippers’ Council desired to elevate cargo clearance procedure in Nigeria to international standards hence the need for freight forwarders to be trained as professionals.

“The more our economy grows, the more we have freight forwarders and they are very strong element and indispensable. Freight forwarding is a very sacred institution like law or medicine and that is why Nigerians cannot afford not to have trained and professional freight forwarders or customs brokers because if we have freight forwarders who are not trained or educated, the whole reforms will collapse,” he said.

“If we have strong freight forwarding profession, then most of the problems will be solved. They will be able to bargain with the service providers and they will be able to dictate policies and legal frame work.

“Unfortunately, this is not the situation in Nigeria and attempts have been made by the Council for setting up the CRFFN so that we give knowledge and professionalism and do away with touts and thugs because we can’t afford to have touts as freight forwarders,” he said.

Bello noted that most of the complaints by freight forwarders would not have been necessary if they were well educated and understand the charges and tariff structure of service providers, thus eliminating the need for a port regulator.

He said the Council will patronize NIFFCB to enable it gain more knowledge in its task of moderating port tariffs.

Earlier in his address, President of the Institute, Dr. Zeb Ikokide solicited the support of the Council towards its training programme by assisting with a bigger accommodation.

He said when freight forwarders are well trained; the Council will have a hitch free operation as the commercial port regulator.

He said the institute will also be delighted to receive staff of the Council for higher training on freight forwarding, supply chain management, logistics, trade facilitation and customs processes and procedures.

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