Maritime stakeholder slams Shippers’ Council over slow pace of ICD project.

Chinazor Megbolu

A Chieftain of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Segun Musa has slammed  the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) for its failure to drive the Inland  Containers Deposit (ICD) project to fruition.

He disclosed this in an online chat while reacting to events in the maritime domain. He said that the maritime economic regulator has lost track and hence behaving like military juntas.
“I warned them about ten years ago during this MARAN Annual event at Premier hotel, Ibadan, where I was one of the guest speakers that the snap action on establishing Inland Container Depots (ICDs) without putting the piloting mechanisms in place would end up becoming a wasted effort.
“Nigerian Shippers’ Council seems to have overstayed the relevance and I have suggested to government at several occasions to either scrap it or merge it with another agency instead of wasting resources funding it.
“One would have expected such agency to be a think tank platform for enhancing efficiency in the industry but unfortunately it has not lived up to our expectations,” he said.
Musa further noted that the NSC by statutory standards is saddled with finding out the challenges confronting the ICDs rather than threatening investors that have invested hard earned money into the business of revocation of their licenses.
According to him; “I remembered vividly telling Nigerian Shippers Council at Ibadan that the only mode that can pilot ICD is rail but unfortunately Mr. Sarumi , the then ES of the Council, argued that it could be piloted by haulage and because I was not a former Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) Managing Director, my advise was ignored.
“See where we are today because someone somewhere just want government to know he or she is working.
“The agency is less concerned about what the critical stakeholders are going through because each time they arrange meetings, they invite only their regular customers that would come and clap for them for video coverage and not people that would tell them the truth”.
Musa noted further that piloting ICD it’s not only a fraud but also encourages fraudulent practices because investors would definitely be forced to look for ways of making their profits either by diverting cargoes or manipulating Government revenue.
“NSC needs serious overhauling for proper repositioning rather than just speaking queens English without any substance,” Musa said.
Meanwhile, on digital technology being promoted to combat crime in the maritime sector, he applauded the initiative by saying it’s a good one for the business community.
He  commended the Nigeria Police Force for aligning with the project towards making it a success.
“I sincerely joined millions of Nigerians in business community to congratulate the Nigerian Police for aligning with digital technology as a global trend in combating crime within our water corridors and implore the Inspector General of Police to put a beam in place so that this efforts would not turn to another avenue for illegalities.
“The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) needs to physically implement this and not just for media consumption and for the alerts I would keep telling the customs that there’s no need for alerts except on occasional basis with vital information beyond the knowledge of the residents officers and other departments saddled with scanning or physical examinations.
“Customs should show some levels of advancements beyond the Stone Age approach. I am optimistic that before the end of this year , my proposal on interface with freight forwarders would stop and every transactions would start and end online except for the haulage service that would go to port for pickup,” Musa said

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