*As Shippers commence scrapping of N1.7billion annual container deposit fee
*NPA to reduce rental charges for terminal operators
*To deploy Multi-modal transport system for cargo delivery
*24 port operations on the agenda
Lagos — FIVE Chief Executives of maritime agencies namely the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, the Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC, the National Inland Waterways Authority, NIWA and the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria, CRFFN have commenced moves to digitalize port operation with a view reducing human contact, cost and increase efficiency.
This is just as the Shippers Council has also said that it is putting an insurance scheme to replace the controversial container deposit fee paid by importers. Speaking at a meeting in Lagos yesterday, Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council, Mr. Hassan Bello said that over N1.7billion is collected every year from Nigerian importers as container deposit fees.
According to Bello, about 63 percent of port operations were done online in the last year adding that by the first quarter of 2021, the entire port community would have achieved 100 percent of digitalization of port operations.
Besides, the Chief executives also decided that to establish a port community system which will in turn set up a Committee to ensure 24 hours operation to deliver cargoes within the shortest possible time.
Bello said that a marine insurance scheme will replace the container deposit fees before the end of the first quarter of next year.
He disclosed that even the shipping companies are also in tune with the Council’s move to scrap container deposit fee as the issue has also become a burden for them.
“By the end of first quarter next year there will be no container deposit
“It will a simplification of the old order because they too (Shipping firm) have burden of their systems are also over stretched over the needless container deposit so I think we will get cooperation from them.” Bello stated.
It was also agreed that a multi-modal transport system with emphasis on the rail so as to ease pressure on the port will also pursued vigorously.
The operations of the Nigerian Rail Corporation, NRC, will also be co-opted for the deployment of wagons to the ports.
Similarly, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh said that the multi-modal approach of cargo delivery is one thing the port community system will also pursue the functionality of waterways mode of transportation
He said: “All the Chief Executive of the Nigerian maritime agencies meets every month where we sit down and deliberate on the common area where we have challenges with a view to moving the Nigerian maritime industry forward.
“At the meeting we deliberated on so many issues on the way forward and some of the issues we discuss today are the issue of Port Community system.
“We agreed that we are going to have a Committee that will look into operationality of the port community system where the community will a say on whatever we do in the Nigerian maritime domain.
“We also agreed to look into 24 hours and seven days operationality of the Nigerian port system.
“The Committee of the Chief executives observed that port efficiency and effectiveness cannot be achieved without 24 hours port operations system.
“In the next meeting, we will have an interim report on how we will implement our own action plan, the action plans will come with deliverables as well as Key Performance Indicators on how to move the issue of operationality of our port system twenty-for seven.”