The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Barr. Hassan Bello has blamed the problems bedeviling the nation’s seaport on inadequate training for the freight forwarders who he said played an important role in the international trade.
Bello who was speaking in his in Lagos office recently when the officials of the Nigerian Institute of Freight Forwarders and Customs Brokers (NIFFCB) paid him a courtesy stated that a good chunk of the problems at the nation’s seaports would be solved if freight forwarders were well trained and conduct themselves professionally.
He stated that because of the important role freight forwarders play in international trade, there was the need for practitioners to have the requisite knowledge not only of clearance of cargo at the port but also of delivery.
The NSC boss disclosed that the Shippers’ Council desired to elevate cargo clearance procedure in Nigeria to international standards thus the need for freight forwarders to be trained as professionals.
According to him, “the more our economy grows, the more we have freight forwarders and they are very strong element and indispensable. Freight forwarding is a very sacred institution like law or medicine and that is why Nigerians cannot afford not to have trained and professional freight forwarders or customs brokers because if we have freight forwarders who are not trained or educated, the whole reforms will collapse”.
“If we have strong freight forwarding profession, then most of the problems will be solved. They will be able to bargain with the service providers and they will be able to dictate policies and legal frame work.Unfortunately, this is not the situation in Nigeria and attempts have been made by the Council for setting up the CRFFN so that we give knowledge and professionalism and do away with touts and thugs because we can’t afford to have touts as freight forwarders”
He observed that most of the complaints by freight forwarders would not have been necessary if they were well educated and understand the charges and tariff structure of service providers thereby eliminating the need for a commercial regulator.
Bello assured that the Council would patronize NIFFCB to enable it gain more knowledge in its task of moderating port tariffs.
Earlier in his address, President of the Institute, Dr. Zeb Ikokide solicited the support of the Council towards its training programme by providing the institute with a bigger accommodation.
Ikokide said that it only when the freight forwarders were well trained that the Council would have a hitch free operation as the commercial regulator.
He opined that the institute would also be delighted to receive staff of the Council for higher training on freight forwarding, supply chain management, logistics, trade facilitation and customs processes and procedures.