The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has called on the Nigerian freight forwarders to unite and improve in terms of organization as well as build capacity that will enable them practice their profession with international best practices and standards.
The Managing Director of NPA, Ms Hadiza Bala Usman who made this call while delivering a paper titled, “Driving the Change Agenda Through Freight Forwarding” at the Prince Olayiwola Shittu Colloquim @ 68 held in Lagos on Monday said that it is only when the freight forwarders unite, organize themselves properly and build capacity that they would be able to take their rightful position and be reckoned with in the industry with and outside the country.
Usman while noting that the greatest challenge at the port was to have agencies that were directly involved in cargo clearance play their respective roles seamlessly, however added that the Nigerian Ports Authority should not be blamed for lapses in cargo clearance because it took more than NPA to see cargo out of the ports.
According to her,” It is only when cargo has proven to be righteous to border post rules, regulations and laws that it can be made available for maritime logistics. The challenge is to get all agencies come under the single window which NPA is under-taking in collaboration with the Nigerian Customs.
“We area also engaging other agencies who have a role to play in intermodal connectivity like railways, inland waterways to improve cargo delivery. To underscore the passion we have in achieving this, the authority recently organized and hosted the International Association of Ports and Harbours (IAPH) Africa regional conference to discuss ways of achieving hinterland connectivity”.
While regretting that seized cargo and detained containers in the port occupy space and impair the role of the ports as an efficient transit area, the Managing Director warned that the freight forwarders must ensure that they don’t have a hand in contributing to this challenge.
On the theme of the paper, she recalled that the Federal Government in its determination to reform the country came up with the Change Agenda which was aimed at restoring the country on the path of growth and development adding that the port industry through the presidential order of ease of doing business was expected to make its contribution to the success of the change agenda.
In her word, “The port is an international border post and a nodal point for maritime logistics consisting of shipping companies, the Port Authority and the freight forwarders. Today’s customers seek a service that is quick, reliable and flexible and yet offers good price, these components are associated with an effective system for which the freight forwarders must play a major role”.
She observed that in order to execute its role to achieving the ease of doing business coupled with the expectations of the World Bank trade facilitation agreement, the Nigerian Ports Authority has taken some measures towards improving freight forwarding in Nigeria among which were; launching of the provisional, final billing and customer portal module of Revenue Invoice Management System aimed at improving its service offering, partner relationship, create efficient payment method, maximize revenue and eradicate loss associated with fraud and revenue leakage.
Others according to the NPA boss were setting up a committee in collaboration with the Nigerian Navy to address the Apapa Gridlock, call up system for trucks with Shipping companies, advertisement for approved trailer parks, contribution of N1. 829 billion to the rehabilitation of the Wharf road, barging system, achieved the collaboration with Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to introduce the much awaited Single Window Platform aimed at simplifying and harmonizing formalities, procedures and the related exchange of information and documents between the various partakers in a supply chain as well as the inter-ministerial committee chaired by Managing Director of NPA and co-chaired by the Managing Director of the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) to improve market share of rail system for cargo evacuation.
Photo: The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman (Middle), the Celebrant, Prince Olayiwola Shittu (right), and Mrs. O. Shittu during the Colloquium and Book Presentation in honour of Prince Shittu in Lagos, yesterday.
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