Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council, Barr Hassan Bello has called for a reform in the practice of freight forwarding in Nigeria, saying that the profession should not be left to the whims and caprices of touts.
Bello who spoke with journalists in Lagos recently noted with concern that there is proliferation in the practice, with unregistered persons masquerading as freight forwarders.
He said that the unorganized nature of the business is what has further given room for foreigners dominating the practice of freight forwarding in Nigeria.
According to him, the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) as the umpire and regulatory agency in charge of the practice should ensure that anyone who wants to practice freight forwarding has minimum share capital for them to operate.
He said the Council is already in talks with the two major freight forwarding associations; National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) and the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) on the need to carry out the needed reforms.
Speaking, Bello said “There must be reforms in freight forwarding, freight forwarding is an important profession that must not be left to the whims and caprices of touts, they must be really trained, and they have to expand it to be in tune with the logistics architecture that we have, they must be freight forwarders rather than Customs Clearing Agents”
“It is a function of the economy, but I want a situation whereby a freight forwarder would be able to higher or chatter a vessel, we want them to have warehouses, fleet companies where they deliver goods to the door step of the shipper or the factory, we want them to be involved in the whole transaction”
“We want them to negotiate with the carriers about fees and charges, we want them to be strong”
“But what we have now is proliferation, you see a single container with five freight forwarders working on it, we don’t need that in our economy”
“If you don’t reform the sector, the foreigners are meant to take it over, I know that this is of concern to NAGAFF and ANLCA, we have discussed the idea that we really need to reform the freight forwarding profession”
“This is left to the CRFFN as the ultimate moderator”
“The associations have done much especially on policies that are not good, they have been outspoken, but the idea is to have professionalism in freight forwarding, it is a weak link and we need to reform in this direction”
“By reform, I mean there must be consolidation, there must be a minimum share capital for them to operate, if they are structured, we wouldn’t be having what is called container deposits, who do you entrust your container to as a shipping company when he doesn’t have address, email or anything to identify him?
“This is why the Shippers Council is registering all service providers” he said