The Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Mr. Hassan Bello has urged shippers in the country to actively participate in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) in other to benefit optimally in all relevant sectors of the trade regime.Bello while speaking during the election and inauguration of new executives of the National Shippers Association of Nigeria (NASAN), at the NSC headquarters in Lagos on Tuesday, noted that the shippers need to be part of the AfCFTA, so as to benefit from the trade agreement, adding that there is need for the new association to speak with one voice in order to boost their bargaining power nationally and internationally.
He stressed that the purpose of establishing the national body of the shippers’ associations is to enhance the bargaining power of the associations to negotiate with their stakeholders locally and internationally and increase their visibility in the shipping industry.
He further admonished them to elect officers who are genuine and regular importers and exporters that will pilot the affairs of the association to greater heights.
According to him, “shippers need to be engaged in the African Continental Free Trade Area(AfCFTA), they need to be part of the talking arrangement to see that we think out our competitive best,so that in the long run we will benefit from the trade agreement. In terms of infrastructure, it is important that the shippers design and urge that infrastructure should be built because the one who benefits is the one that has the best infrastructure.
On the newly-formed National Shippers Association of Nigeria, Bello said, “the purpose of establishing the national body of the shippers’ association is to enhance the bargaining power of the associations to negotiate with their stakeholders locally and internationally and increase their visibility in the shipping industry”.
He added that, “it is therefore important that you elect officers who are genuine and regular importers and exporters to pilot the affairs of this great association.
“They need to have strong voice, be organised and that is why the council is here to bring them together, have the capacity to negotiate freight trade, shipping procedure, shipping instrument like bill of laden, incoterms – International Commercial Terms, the contract of afreightment, contract of carriage of goods.
“These are all responsibilities of the shippers and they must be organised so that they will be able to negotiate with the providers of shipping services.
“As shippers, they are aware of the numerous challenges facing the shipment of goods to and from Nigeria. The task ahead of NASAN is therefore enormous and will require courage and diligence to steer the ship of the association
“On our part, the council will continue to assist the association to ensure it achieves the purpose for which it was established. The council will continue to monitor the activities of the association to ensure it does not derail from its purpose, which is to work towards enhancing shipping tradeoff members as well as contribute to the growth of the national economy.
“NASAN should ensure its members participate actively in the newly-established AfCFTA to ensure that its members benefit optimally in all relevant sectors of the regime.
“It is therefore important that you engage your members in sensitization and enlightenment exercises to improve their knowledge capacity on shipping across borders, access to funds and other areas that will enhance the practice of import and export business.
At the end of the election, Engr. Innocent Akukwe emerged as the President General; Alhaji Jamilu Umar as the Vice President, Ijioma Ejiosan Secretary General, Barr. Ibrahim Mustapha, Treasurer, Otaka Kalu Uche, Financial Secretary, Ukechukwu Chizoba, as the Public Relations Officer, and Muazu Yakubu as the welfare officer.