Terminal operators pledge greater cooperation with Shippers’ Council

Private terminal operators yesterday promised to cooperate fully with the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) in the discharge if its new role as port economic regulator. The terminal operators made this pledge yesterday during a visit to ENL Consortium and Port & Cargo terminals in Apapa, Lagos.

While receiving the NSC team at ENL Consortium, the General Manager, Mr. Mark Walsh promised to necessary information that may be required by the NSC availbale to enable it carry out its mandate efficiently.

“For us it is a simple process, anything that you do need, let us know, we promise to provide all the information that you need to be able to do your job efficiently. The community of the shipping companies and terminal operators need to be closer; we need to know what we are doing and how we are doing it. Everyone tries to satisfy who he can, you can never be perfect in everything that you do and we have been trying our best in keeping the shippers council in the loop of what we do,” he said,

Managing Director, Port & Cargo Terminal, John Jenkins also assured that his terminal would work closely with the council to improve on its service delivery.

Executive Secretary/CEO of the Council, Barrister Hassan Bello, said the council would soon commence supervision of the operations of all terminals with a view to monitoring and coordinating their activities. He said all terminals must be registered with the NSC “as stipulated in the concession agreement”.

While commending the management of ENL terminals for being responsive to complaints on time, Bello acknowledged that the terminal had improved on its operations overtime.

He also stated that terminal operators must disclose information when demanded in order to improve and enhance their operations.

“What we want you to do by the powers conferred on us is that you should give us access to your premises so that we will have supervisory ability to monitor and coordinate any activities with which we deem it is within the terms of our instructions from the government. You also have to register with the Nigeria Shippers’ Council. It is there in the concession agreement, by this we mean you have to give us certain information and it must be specified because it is what we will use to measure the efficiency of a terminal operator,” he said.

Bello said modern commerce depends on predictability of not only manufacturing but delivery of cargo to the final consumer.

He urged terminal operators to always handle cargo to the satisfaction of importers even as he assured operators of the council’s partnership.

“You must not increase charges without consultation with the council. There should be consideration for time in cargo handling, consideration for the productivity of your port, how you handle and deliver cargo, how you receive the ships and how you work with other agencies and your tariff. We have to know what your charges are, whether they are in line with what the Federal Government or the NCS has or will approve and obnoxious trade practices like rent seeking, unnecessary delay storage charges and time for delivery of cargo must be eliminated,” he said.

Also speaking, Director Commercial Shipping Services of NSC, Mrs. Dabney Shall-Holma said the council is committed  to ensuring that the investment of terminal operators are protected, assuring that the council will always render any service required so long it legitimately falls within the purview of its role as the port regulator.

“The essence of regulation is to protect investment. If the investment is not protected other investment will not come to the area. We have such a long coastline and we want all of them to be concessioned if possible and developed so that there will be intense competition,” she said.