Shippers’ Council Harps On Independent Ports Economic Regulator

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The Chief Executive Officer and Executive Secretary Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Barr. Hassan Bello, has said that for the presidential order on 24 hours port operations to be achieved, the port economic regulator should be allowed to act independently from any market interest in developing rules.
Speaking at a one day town hall meeting on 24 hours port operations orgainsed by Association of Maritime Journalists of Nigeria (AMJON) in Lagos, yesterday, Bello said that the regulator should also be allowed to monitor compliance and sanction defaulter when the need arises.
The NSC boss who was represented by Mrs. Juliana Saka, Principal Operations Officer, Commercial Shipping Department of the Council appealed to all agencies operating at the port in order to complement each other’s role rather than competing as agencies has distinct role to play in the delivery process.
He added that the challenges of faulty scanners in the port should be addressed urgently and that service providers to give a back up in the event of system failure.
In his words,” There should be sustained enlightenment of freight forwarders and consignees on the need to make proper declarations as well as early processing of the documents before the arrival of vessels.”
“Government needs to launch a common portal for all its agencies in the port to complete all import or export procedures with single input transmission at a single site,hence government must ensure that everything that needs to do with cargo clearance needs to be standardized and integrated, 90 percent of containers should go  for scanning while 10 percent  for physical examination.
“The Standard Operating Procedures launched by NSC is a guide to all port users on the operating procedures of all service providers in the port. There is therefore the need to harmonize and streamline the S.O.P in order to reduce the number of procedures.
” The S.O.P portal should also be integrated with Nigerian integrated custom information system in order to save time cost and enhance competitiveness of Nigerian port,” he advised.
He further advised that Federal Ministry of Transportation and that of Power, Work and Housing need to expedite action in fixing the deplorable roads leading to the ports, integrate the rail sliding to the port for multi-model connectivity in order to ease the movement of cargo in and out of the port.
According to him, provision of 24 hours power supply to the port for efficiency and adequate security should be provided for users of port services and all stakeholders especially at night.
He further appealed to all stakeholders need to complement each other in rendering services to port users especially the Nigerian Customs Service, shipping lines and Nigeria Ports Authority.
“They must ensure that manifest is uploaded at the last port before the arrival of the vessel to Nigeria ports.
“Government should equip the port with high tech-equipment and modern infrastructure in order for containers to be scanned during the discharge process. The Nigerian Shippers Council is presently championing the establishment of the Inland Container Depots.
” This will assist in ensuring that the seaports maintain their status as transit point, thus achieve 24 hours port operations,” he submitted.

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