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Import, export cargoes suffer 24 days delay at ports – Bello 

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Lagos, Nigeria: entrance to the RoRo port - Nigerian Ports Authority - photo by A.Bartel

By Otunba Bright

The Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers Council, Hassan Bello, has decried the 21 and 24 days delay that import and export cargoes have to suffer before gaining access into the nation’s port.

Bello disclosed this on Tuesday at the Election and Inauguration of the National Shippers Association of Nigeria (NASAN) at the Council’s headquarters in Apapa, Lagos, sayin that in other neighbouring ports, cargoes spend just seven days dwell time at the port.

According to him, the Council is already in talks with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on the need for Nigerian Shippers to have access to finance, information and connections on the international market.

“There are many shippers who are exporting now, and one of the problems is access to the port, we have cargoes that spend 20 days and 24 days before they gain access into the port, we have struggled so much to ensure that this is not done.

“We need exporters who are Shippers to also have free access to the port, they should have access to information about the market, they should also have access to finance. The same situation is with importers, there are issues at the port, cargoes have 21 days dwell time, meanwhile it is 7 days at our competing neighboring ports,” he added.

However, he said it is the duty of the newly inaugurated NASAN to engage the government and ensure reduction in dwell time of cargo.

“You should also ask for the simplification of processes and procedures, we should ask for digitalisation of our ports.

“I am happy to inform you that digitalisation of our ports has gotten to a very critical stage where most of our terminals have really grown up, we are insisting that they must have 90 per cent compliance, the banks must come in, so that you can transact even without coming to Lagos, the freight forwarders, truckers and shipping lines must be online, this would stop the corruption going on at the port,” he said.

He enjoined the group to elect officers who are genuine and regular importers and exporters to pilot the affairs of the NASAN.

Bello urged NASAN to speak with one voice so as to boost their bargaining power nationally and internationally.

He noted that the purpose of establishing the national body of shippers association apart from enhancing the bargaining power of the associations to negotiate with their stakeholders, locally and internationally, was to increase their visibility in the shipping industry.

“For so long, the Nigerian Shippers have neglected their roles in the hands of freight forwarders, meanwhile as cargoes owners, they are supposed to be engaging government directly and even to issue instructions to the Nigerian Shippers Council.

“They need to have strong voice, be organised and that is why the councill is here to bring them together, have the capacity to negotiate freight trade, shipping procedure, shipping instrument like bill of laden, incoterms – International Commercial Terms, the contract of affreightment, contract of carriage of goods,” he added.

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