• Monday, March 04, 2024
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BusinessDay

Shippers’ Council boss says electronic CTN will enhance cargo clearance at port

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has no additional cost implication to importers

The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) is perfecting plans to introduce an advanced cargo information system known as Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) into the Nigerian port system with the sole aim of fast tracking cargo clearance procedure, BusinessDay has learnt.

CTN will fasten the process of cargo clearance at the port because it will give the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), terminal operators, shipping companies, Plant Quarantine, NAFDAC and other agency involved in cargo clearance, an advanced information of the cargo that is coming, said Hassan Bello, executive secretary, NSC, at a recent meeting with freight forwarders to discuss the rudiments of CTN prior to the introduction.

“CTN will not occasion delay because it is electronic. The CTN that was formerly introduced about three years ago brought a lot of delay and it also had cost implication that was why it was not accepted by the industry stakeholders. But this new CTN is at no cost to the economy and the shippers,” Bello said.

The NSC boss, who noted that the CTN will eliminate the waiting for ship manifest, which is only made available at the point of berth before commencing clearance processes, also said it will block pilferages and revenue leakages in the harbourages by removing under-declaration and under invoicing by the importers and their agents, who do so to short-change the government of due import duty.

“It will help to deal with the issue of compliance with import rules because Nigerians don’t comply, they under-declare the goods they import. This is tax evasion and we want to block that. Even the shipping companies sometimes cut down their gross registered tonnage (GRT) because the amount they are to pay is tied to it, but with CTN they cannot do that again,” Bello said.

“This is the beginning of the new port order, and this will bring transparency, predictability and efficiency as well as synergy among agencies and operators. Shippers’ Council, as the interim regulator, has come to introduce supervision, integration, equilibrium, balance and synergy in ports operation,” he said.

The Shippers’ Council boss, who noted that freight forwarders and Customs Licensed Agents have raised some issues around the CTN, assured that the Council would ensure that those highlighted issues were represented in the final system that would be launched into the port system.

He also assured that all stakeholders would be introduced into the project, which he described as cardinal to the function of the Council as an economic regulator.