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Shippers Council establishes ‘Port Service Support Portal’ to handle stakeholders’ complaints

NSC: Driving port efficiency through fight against corruption

In a bid to address the numerous shipping challenges of Stakeholders, the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), the country’s economic ports regulator says it has instituted a robust complaints handling unit at its head office in Lagos.

Emmanuel Jime, executive secretary/chief operating officer, NSC, stated this Thursday, in Aba, Abia State, at a day seminar on ” Maritime fraud and its effect on international trade transactions: The stakeholders challenge” organised by the Council’s Soutb-East Zonal office.

He explained that the unit has successfully handled numerous shipping complaints to the satisfaction of stakeholders.

Some of the casses handled include, short landing and non delivery of cargoes, theft/pilferages, damage to cargoes, excessive and illegal/unsubstantiated charges, breach of trade contract agreement, among others.

The council in pursuit of more complaint handling services, collaborated with other maritime regulatory agencies at the nation’s ports, to establish an online complaint portal, known as “Port Service Support Portal (PSSP).

Ejime, who was represented at the seminar, by Glory Onajedo, director, NSC, South-South coordinating office, PortHarcourt, affirmed that the web-enabled complaint management solution, is capable of handling live shipping complaints and problems of stakeholders in an online real time manner.

Read also: We’re working with Customs to improve port efficiency – NPA

This as he stressed that the business of stakeholder’s business is of great importance to the Council, which is why they assemble seasoned experts to continuously educate them, through workshops and seminars.

Geraldine Okeudo, an associate professor, from the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO), Imo State, who delivered a paper, titled, ‘The Effects of Fraud on Business of International Trade and Measures for Reducing its Occurrence’ advised stakeholders to be extremely careful when dealing with business partners.

She said that maritime fraud is sensitive as it now involves technology without opportunity for physical check.

According to her, such dealings is done with minimum risk, maximum profit affair, easily adaptable to prevailing conditions, relatively simple to operate, difficult to detect and, even if detected, is difficult to prosecute successfully in court.

She said that fraud in international trade occurs when one of the various parties involved in trade succeeds in obtaining money or goods belonging to another party, unjustly and illegally which may take different dimensions such as Documentary Fraud (Forging documents or signature), intentional or non-existing loss or damage to cargo and deliberate destruction of over insured cargo.

Okeudo, said that the type of Fraud experienced in the Maritime Industry include, Documentary Frauds, Blackmail Frauds, Bunkering Frauds, Cyber Frauds, Fake Job Frauds and Barratry. It was later broken down to Charter Party Frauds, Bills of Landing Frauds and Marine Insurance Frauds.

Ego Ijeaku, zonal coordinator,NSC, South-East coordinating office, Aba, In an interview with BusinessDay, explained that the event was organised, following the increasing number of fraud related complaints, being reported by stakeholders to the Council.

She noted that the workshop identified causes and consequences of fraud in international trade transactions, the various types of fraud perpetuated in international trade, the various means employed in defrauding maritime activities and also recommended measures for reducing the incidences of fraud in international trade.

Fraud in international trade according to her, is a serious crime and arises when one of the various parties involved in the trade succeeds in obtaining money or goods belonging to another party, unjustly and illegally.

It may also take different dimensions, such as documentary fraud (forging documents or signature), intentional or non-existing loss or damage to cargo and deliberate destruction of insured cargo, among others.