Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hassan Bello, has said that the weakest link in the nation’s port system is freight forwarding practice.
Bello said this yesterday during a courtesy visit of the Ports Consultative Council Taskforce on Port Operations to him seeking intervention of the Shippers’ Council in repositioning the practice of freight forwarding in Nigeria.
He blamed the gap in the port system on the deficiency for the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) in exercising its regulatory power over freight forwarding practitioners.
He said: “In the transport sector we have had reforms and these reforms are profiled. We have concessioned the ports, involved the private sector in driving delivery of service and we have seen the achievements there but the weakest link in the reform is the freight forwarding practice. The CRFFN is supposed to be the regulator of that practice however that has not been done.”
“You call a person who pursues containers a freight forwarder? Twenty or thirty of them to a container? Their physical presence in the ports is a nuisance. And this is one of the reasons why we the ports are clogged because of the swamp of so called freight forwarders. We cannot continue like this because it is bizarre”, he further stated.
Bello said that the ports are plagued by quack freight forwarders because CRFFN does not recognize its regulatory role to the extent that it has allowed itself to be regulated by its members.
“It has been realized that the Council is besetted with the problem of non-recognition of its regulatory roles where the associations are bigger than the Council and this cannot happen. The Council must retain its strength and be able to issue regulations and if an association cannot abide by that then there is no need for the Council. The Council should be bigger than the association. The Council must enforce its rules” the Shippers’ Council boss stated.
He further said that to wield its power efficiently the Council must enforce its rules firmly even as he asserted that “if you practice freight forwarding and you are not recognised by the Council you go to jail.”
He said that there are ongoing efforts to resituate CRFFN with its supervising ministry- the Ministry of Transport directing that Shippers’ Council intervene in carrying out this feat.
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