Port users including freight forwarders have commended the Nigerian Shippers’ Council’s (NSC) efforts towards sanitising the ports and improving efficient service delivery.
According to them, the equipment audit on terminal operators, as well as checks on arbitrary charges by shipping lines, was having a positive impact on the ports.
Also, the delivery of cargo at the ports has improved tremendously as a result of the various interventions introduced by the Council as the port’s economic regulator.
Ade Ogunlana, a freight forwarder, said the equipment audit is a measure that has kept the terminal operators on their toes as they have been compelled to invest in new and modern cargo handling equipment.
Ogunlana further said that it has helped in the quick positioning of containers for examination at the ports.
“What we have witnessed is that in most terminals, positioning of containers for examination is no longer delayed as before. This is even the same in the discharge of goods from the ship to the quayside unlike before when the whole terminals were littered and congested with containers as a result of lack of enough equipment to move these goods to stack areas,” he said.
While pointing out that the indiscriminate introduction of charges has abated, he added that the NSC has been able to force the shipping service providers to come to a negotiation table before new charges are introduced at the port.
Nicholas Ojemba, a Customs agent, also described the measures by the port’s economic regulator to achieve efficiency at the ports as commendable.
Ojemba said many importers and exporters were now becoming cautious about fraudulent practices at the ports.
He added that the policing of the nation’s seaports by the Port Standing Task Team (PSTT) headed by officials of the NSC has compelled shippers, Customs agents, Customs officers, and other security personnel to be cautious about various forms of illegality.
Ojemba said the position of the NSC on the boarding of ships calling at the ports and examination of containers by government agencies at the ports have been streamlined to involve all the agencies in an exercise called joint boarding of ships and joint cargo examination.
“Except in a few cases, examination of goods is done by all the government agencies. This is the same for the boarding of vessels calling at the ports. This has helped reduce delay and extortion involving the various agencies,” Ojemba said.
The PSTT which is headed by the NSC is also saddled with the responsibility of monitoring compliance as well as checking various corrupt practices at the ports.