In a bid to enlist the support of the Nigerian Shippers for its proposed re-introduction of the Cargo Tracking Note (CTN), the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) will on Monday next week meet with the shippers to further explain to them the modalities for implementing the soon to be re-introduce CTN.
Recall that the Federal Government about three years ago introduced the Cargo Tracking Note in its bid to further facilitate trade but was resisted by the maritime stakeholders owing to its cost implication on the Nigerian ports industry which is considered the most expensive in the West African sub-region thereby leading to the withdrawal of the instrument by the federal government.
Only recently, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council announced the Council’s readiness to re-introduce the CTN as part of the measures aimed at ensuring the safety and security of cargoes bound for Nigeria, a move which is already generating some ripples in the industry.
Speaking to newsmen in Lagos on Wednesday, the President, Shippers’ Association of Lagos State (SALS), Rev. Dr. Jonathan Nicol said that members of the association had been put on notice for the meeting scheduled for Monday next week where it was expected that the NSC would explain to them the rationale behind the re-introduction of the CTN.
Nicol disclosed that the meeting would afford his members the opportunity to have first hand information that would enable them to review the essence of the CTN and subsequently take a decision on whether or not they should adopt it.
According to him,” The understanding is that shippers will not pay anything and I understand that some shipping lines are already kicking against it but we want to hear from Shippers’ Council the benefits of what shippers will derive from it.
“And if we are going to benefit from Cargo Tracking, tracking our boxes to safety will be a good approach but let them give us actually what it will entail because all of us are travelling together in the same boat with the sense that we have always said we want Nigeria to be a country where people will come and invest and then do business in this country. It needs to be measurably controlled so that prices will not go up because to do business in this country from what it is now is high.
“So, I think the Shippers’ Council will be able to tell us why and what they want to gain from it. After the meeting, I will be in a position to comment on it”.
On why the policy was previously suspended, Nicol said,” You see, at a time they introduced the CTN, it was a political thing and they thought that was the only way they should make quick money, the amount they put in it at that time was outrageous because even the shipping lines who carry that cargoes will not charge us that much and of course you know there is an aspect of the tracking which is in line with our contract with the shipping lines. You cannot carry cargo and fail to track what you carry, in fact, they do tracking themselves and we kicked against it because we thought it was outrageously high and it was unprofessional but then I think it was done by the Nigerian Ports Authority and a handful of people. So, we kicked vehemently against it and it was suspended immediately. So, that was why I said we are to meet the Nigerian Shippers’ Council and let them educate us”.
On who would bear the cost of the tracking if it eventually scales through this time, the SALS boss had this to say,” We don’t know whether there is cost now or not because it depends on the kind of negotiation you have with your foreign traders. So, if they are going to re-introduce CTN, we want it to work without extra cost”.
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