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Shippers’ Council begins move to end N16bn annual loss on container deposit

The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) said it has set plans in motion to end over N16 billion annual losses on container deposit by cargo owners to shipping liners.

Hassan Bello, executive secretary of NSC, who disclosed this in Lagos on Friday during a meeting with newsmen to highlight the scorecard of the Council, said arrangement is now in place to end collection of container deposit by shipping companies by end of second quarter of 2021, and to replace it with insurance cover.

According to him, Nigerian shippers spent close to N16 billion on container deposits owing to the challenges facing the industry, and this virtually remained the same in 2019 and 2020 as there was no significant changes to the delays in container turnaround time, cargo clearance among other bottlenecks that continued to hamper smooth port operation.

Bello pointed out that the solution to this huge operating loss is digitalisation of all port process, adding that it will eliminate delay in goods clearance which causes demurrage, solve revenue leakages and make Nigerian ports competitive.

He however noted that the agenda of the Council was to ensure that all port processes are digitalised to tackle corruption, congestion and other forms of delay in the port activities.

According to him, majority of ports across the globe have been digitalised to drastically eliminate any form of human contacts because human contacts in port business are anti-efficiency.

“Port is not a place for human contacts and we are putting in place measures to fix this challenge” he said.

Bello further assured that with the coming of the Lekki Seaport with 16 meters draft, bigger ships will be able to call to the port and attract the needed economic activities to grow Nigerian economy.

Highlighting some of the strategies the council have deployed to boost transportation in the shipping industry, Bello said the Council is in talks with insurance companies to address the issue of container deposit, and engage with relevant agencies for the harmonisation of tariff structure,

He also stated that the council has set standards for container services in the area of ship turnaround time, batch operations, adding that there is ongoing engagement to reduce cargo dwell time which in 2019 was 21 days to a possible seven days.

The executive secretary further said that apart from the regulatory resistant that the council battles with from recalcitrant operators in the industry, the issue of funding and lack of staff is slowing the plans of the Council.

Bello however called on government to increase funding while clamouring for the inclusion of the Nigerian Shippers Council in port concession agreement as plot to exclude the Council will be disastrous.

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