Freight Forwarders advise Customs CG to assign escort to barges 

 

Stakeholders in the freight forwarding subsector have advised the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Alli (rtd) to always assign escorts with laden containers to avoid the accusation of illegal diversion of cargoes.

The stakeholders who are drawn from both Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) and National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) said that by so doing  the operators would not be able to connive with importers or agents to perpetrate such heinous crime.

The reaction was borne out of the recent ban by the Comptroller General of Customs on using barges to evacuate cargoes to and from the ports.

According to them, security of the nation must not be compromised by individuals or groups, hence the need to monitor the movement of cargoes through land and waterways.

The Special Adviser to the Chairman Apapa Chapter of ANLCA, Mr. Frank Aliakor, said freight forwarders are faced with numerous challenges mostly as it affects the movement of cargoes along the port corridors.

He suggested that selected number of customs officers and men should always escort barges exiting the port to the off dock facilities to avoid diversion of cargoes which in turn will checkmate illicit practices on the waterways.

“I will suggest that any consignments leaving the terminals to bonded terminals through barges should be accompanied by officers of the Federal Operations Unit or the Western Marine officers.

He also urged practitioners to assist the management of the service in a bid to encourage trade facilitation and security of the nation.

Also speaking, Secretary, Apapa Chapter, of ANLCA, Mr. Joseph Nnamocha said the bad road would further compound movement of consignments but added that the barges have aided trade facilitation.

According to him, customs needs for roads to complement movement of consignments through waterways.

Nnamocha lamented that the CGC earlier suspension on barges was a clear indication that the current management lack visionary leadership .

A former Chairman, Lilypond terminal of ANLCA, Mr. Femi Olabanji  called on management of the service to ensure that reversal of barge operations takes immediate effect to avoid congestion at the seaport.

Stephen Ibe, a chieftain of NAGAFF noted that security of barges along the coast on the waterways is paramount and that there is need for officers to monitor the movement of consignments.

Comrade Ibe maintained that movement of consignments along the waterways through barges have tremendously helped to reduce gridlock on the port corridors in the last one year thus most not be discouraged.

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