NAGAFF bemoans neglect of freight forwarders by NIMASA


The National President of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Chief Increase Uche has given reasons why the management of the nation’s apex maritime regulatory body – the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has failed to recognize the importance of the freight forwarders in the shipping industry hence the failure by the agency to see the need to train them.

Uche who was speaking in a chat with our correspondent in Lagos on Tuesday said that the leadership of NIMASA and by extension, that of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) were not properly schooled arguing that if they were; they should know those that were so critical in the industry that should be carried along.

He noted that the common understanding of the role of every practitioner or every stakeholder in the industry would always guide their pattern of operation even as he submitted that NIMASA being the apex body in the industry should understand the role of a freight forwarder.

According to him, “Today, NIMASA has the cabotage Act regulation under them, they also have the Nigerian ship owners’ under them, then the seafarers management is also there, then you talk of maritime labour. Then you look at the ship registry and all they do. In all these, you can’t exonerate the freight forwarder. If you are talking anything shipping, we call it the triangle of carriage of cargo by sea that recognizes the shipper, you talk of the freight forwarder, then the shipping line which is the carrier and NIMASA happens to be the apex body in shipping in terms of administration and safety.

“So, if this is their role, are they in touch with their relevant stakeholders in that very industry? The shipper must be there who brings in these, do they think of how they are faring? The freight forwarder is there, they only concentrate on the carrier from who they collect their three per cent of gross registered tonnage and then they are comfortable.

“On the whole, there is no way you move a cargo without the freight forwarder being involved but they don’t care because they are supposed to scan the environment. Like the shippers’ Council does, from time to time, they have to call every other person. If they are having any issue, they know who and who to involve, they carry everybody along, they want to get your contributions, your feelers.

“But maybe because the headship of NIMASA is not well schooled or the headship of NPA too because they should know those that are so critical that should be carried along. They should know about these things because we are the custodian of the cargo, anything that has to do with the cargo which is the main thing bringing every other person together is cargo. Who arranges these cargoes? Who handles it? From whom does the cargo consolidation emanate from? It is the freight forwarder but once you ignore us, once you don’t carry us along, we don’t see you as doing the right thing as far as the maritime industry is concerned.”

Photo: NAGAFF National President, Chief Increase Uche.

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