As part of efforts in creating a balance and a level playing field between maritime operators and users, which is one of its core functions since its appointment as port economic regulator, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) says it is developing an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism in partnership with the Maritime Arbitrators Association of Nigeria (MAAN) in settling disputes.
Executive Secretary of the Council, Barrister Hassan Bello, stated this while receiving executives of the association led by its president, Dr. Omogbai Omo – Eboh who paid a courtesy visit to the Shippers’ Tower in Apapa, Lagos yesterday.
Bello said international trade without the uniformity of conventions will always give rise to disputes between providers and users hence the need to partner with the arbitrators.
He lamented the congestion of maritime cases at the court when dispute arises with the case lingering on for decades to the detriment of the economy.
Bello said the council has been mediating and settling issues between operators but will further partner with the association to arbitrate on maritime affairs noting that there is an ongoing collaboration between the council and the association to set up a dispute resolution centre.
“Shippers Council has made nice negotiations and it was settled to the satisfaction of the parties. We may not know the rules but we have the lawyers who are in ADR but we certainly need now the compliment of your association especially when you mention our affirmation by the government that we will be the economic regulator.
“We are developing the legal framework and the administrative framework for developing ADR. We have had help from institutions and your association will also be approached to provide us that help,” Bello said.
Bello also assured the association of the council’s full support towards its forthcoming maritime dispute resolution seminar.
Speaking earlier, Omo-Eboh said with the appointment of the Council as port economic regulator, disputes will always arise at the port hence the need to further synergize with the association.
He said the role of arbitrators in the maritime sector is essential noting that through its functions of settling disputes in the maritime sector, the association has helped in saving the country foreign exchange.
“Not many people know about the benefits of what we do even if they know about us. We are also involved in saving the country a lot of capital flight. What we see in the shipping industry now is that when most dispute arise, you either go to court, which takes a lot of time before the cases are resolved or the arbitration clauses in the agreement says they should go to London, New York or Singapore for arbitration which encourages capital flight,” he said.