10 October 2015, Lagos – The Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC, the nation’s ports economic regulator has said that the nation’s seaports have become more efficient and can now compete favourably in handling regional and international transit trade.
The Executive Secretary/CEO of Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Mr. Hassan Bello who stated this at the opening of this year’s International Sea Trade and Investment Convention in Lagos also assured that the new port order was being implemented to make the ports more competitive and to improve the ease of doing business.
Bello who presented a paper entitled, “Imperative of Ports Economic Regulation in Facilitating International Sea Trade and Investment in Nigeria” said that the ports had been witnessing radical transformation since the introduction of private participation in running the ports.
He said that the appointment of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council as the ports economic regulator would further enhance the gains of the port reforms: “The vacuum that existed in the past made it difficult for the nation to enjoy the gains of the program; the inefficiency in the procedures and operations of agencies and service providers and even users was adversely affecting and undermining Nigeria’s competitive advantage in international trade. But all that has changed .Since we took over as economic regulator for the ports we have been addressing the anti-competition behaviours which characterised the activities of the ports in the past”.
The Executive Secretary however called on the Federal Government to provide an enabling environment to the operators who, he said, were operating under a stifling atmosphere. He suggested that the Federal Government must take deliberate steps to link the Terminals with the power National Grid, provide and secure access to the port through good roads
Rail and empower the Regulator to embark on reforms with the associated services like Freight forwarding and Trucking,
The ES/CEO said that the goal was automation and he commended some Government agencies that had embraced automation such as Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) Nigeria Customs, Standard Organisation of Nigeria etc.
Bello said shipping companies were not also left out as they now enjoy improved delivery of marine and terminal handling services leading to reduced turnaround time of vessel and reduced cost of vessel operations.
He also listed some of the achievements of the nation’s ports regulator to include the strengthening of complaint and arbitration mechanisms; prompt issuance of Ship Sailing Certificate and the consequent avoidance of demurrage accumulation against shipping companies and other effects.
“For the freight forwarder, the ports regulator has ensured professionalisation of freight forwarding practice. This on its own leads to elimination of touting, sanitisation the port environment; and harmonisation of clearing processes and procedures and the consequent reduction of clearing charges.”
Bello said the ports sector now enjoyed the overall benefit of improved image due to increased customer confidence; transparency, efficiency and effectiveness.
He then called for the infusion of private sector investments for the sustainable development of the nation’s ports.