Nigerian Shippers’ Council seeks regulatory powers at ports

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The Shippers’ Association in Lagos State says the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) should be assisted with the necessary legal backing to carry out regulatory activities within Nigerian ports.

The President of the association, Mr Jonathan Nicol, said this in a statement made available to newsmen in Lagos.

According to Nicol, the absence of an enabling legal framework is a setback to many efforts of the Federal Government at the ports.

He said that the role of a port economic regulator should go beyond dialogue with `defiant’ stakeholders at the ports.

We believe that the introduction of a port economic regulator will fight irregularities and usher in sanity.”

“If our port environment is not conducive for trade, of course, traders will relocate to a more liberal trade environment within the West and Central Africa regions,’’ Nicol said.

The shipper said that the shipping lines and terminal operators were duty-bound to reduce the cost of doing business and effectively create an easier way to trade within the maritime environment.

Nicol said that local transportation cost should be reduced to encourage shippers, with concessions on demurrage and a stop to unregulated haulage fees.

“Freight forwarders should resolve to offer quality service to shippers (importers and exporters) and give concessions.”

“The situation we find ourselves did not start today. It was created by all and we are suffering for our collective negative actions.”

“Importers should play their roles by paying the correct Customs duties as reflected in the Nigeria Customs Harmonised Systems Code.”

“Government’s resolve to investigate activities in the maritime sector is the best thing that has happened.

“The Customs, Excise and Tariff Committee headed by Sen. Hope Uzodinma is unravelling alleged fraudulent  activities in the port system,’’Nicol said.

The shipper said that the committee was investigating alleged huge sums lost to revenue leakage at the ports.

“Shippers Association Lagos State salutes the courage of the Chairman and other members of the Senate committee for their doggedness.

“Our interest mainly is to plug loopholes and create a very special platform for prosperity and to also introduce a pattern of conducting business in Nigeria with respect and decorum,” Nicol said.

He charged all government agencies operating at the ports to build synergy to reduce cost of doing business and effectively improve the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria.

Nicol said any action to be implemented to bring about a New Port Order should be encouraged by all.

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