The Registrar of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, Ante Mkpandiok has said that the institution is delivering on its mandates of training Freight Forwarders in the country. Mkpandiok Ante Mkpandiok who also doubles as the acting Rector of the institution said this yesterday in Lagos as a Guest Speaker at the Nigeria’s Iconic Freight Forwarders awards organized by the management of Maritime Media Limited. According to Mkpandiok, freight forwarders are the greatest beneficiaries of the academy’s training programmes since the introduction of the Maritime Transports and Business Studies programme in school in 1993.
He disclose that prior to that time a study was undertaken on the duties of imports and exports activities in Nigeria ports and it reveals that over 90% of the Dockworkers operating in the country were unskilled and that inform the introduction of that programme.
Mkpandiok said “Between then and now you can see that a lot of charges and successes has been recorded in the business of clearing and forwarding in the ports
The Registrar who referred to the freight forwarders as “Tireless Men” who bear the brunt of their Principals for their actions and inactions call on them to acquire more skills from the academy as the institution is well equipped for training of call categories of manpower professionals for the Maritime, oil and gas and the allied industries in accordance with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) standards.
“I call you “tireless” because everyone who understands the demands of freight forwarding will agree with me that one needs boundless energy, persistence, tenacity of purpose, self-motivation, and continuous knowledge amongst other values to succeed in this competitive and volatile profession. What is more, the freight forwarder is often the ‘burden bearer’ of what other stakeholder benefit in shipping. A shipper will finger his agent as ‘inefficient’ when his goods suffer even the slightest delay in the port which may be completely outside the control of the forwarder. The freight forwarder is often the first party to bear the burnt of government sanction for his principal’s trade infringements; it is his license that gets suspended for wrongful or under declaration of shipments, at least ‘pending investigations’.
“The forwarder must also contend with other service providers in the freight supply chain including banks, shipping lines, terminal operators, transporters, warehouse operators, customs and other ports agencies to mention but a few, any or all of whom by acts of omission or commission affects his deliverable to his principal. The corollary to these challenges is even the thin margin of profit under which the forwarder has to operate; battered reputations with clients and sometismes with government agencies which may go as far as revocation of his license, as well as low self-esteem. Undoubtedly these and many challenges with their outcomes have made some amongst practitioners of this otherwise noble profession become unscrupulous in their bid to cut corners and ‘make it’ overnight. Sadly, their actions rub off negatively on the collective image of the industry. May I say to such elements amongst the faithful practitioners that success in the freight forwarding profession or in any profession indeed, is not a destination, but a process, indeed a continuous process. Displaying integrity by half is as good as no integrity, as you cannot afford to be completely sincere to one client, whilst being partially sincere to another. It will backfire like a faulty gun.”
He said as an upholder of knowledge MAN, Oron as a development institution is able to solve the many challenges faced today by freight forwarders through continuous training and retraining of practioners. “We live in a knowledge driven world, and experience has shown us as a training institution that there are lots of gaps between how freight forwarders ply their trade in Nigeria and what obtains as global benchmark. Bridging these gaps is what an institution like ours represents. For good measure, apart from our regular academic National Diploma and Higher National Diploma Programmes, Maritime Academy of Nigeria serves as training provider for a number of National and International professional institutions in Shipping, Logistics and Transport. Additionally, we run a one-year postgraduate diploma programme in Shipping and Transport Management (STM) and in maritime Transport Technology (MTT) both of which have become a source of great exposure to many that are joining the shipping industry afresh. As a co-agency with other sister under the Federal Ministry of Transport, we have the statutory recognition with the government to make a case for improved practice of freight forwarding in Nigeria through continuous research and development affronts. We, however, cannot conduct meaningful researches, development and training without active support and collaboration of the industry practitioners laky yourself.” He inform.
On the expansion of the academy’s curriculum, Mkpandiok said from time to time the school reviews the curriculum inline with the IMO standards and in accordance with the STCW 2010 Mannila convention to suit the maritime sector which is evolving and dynamic.