By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) has charged freight forwarders who are still working at the ports despite the outbreak of the Corona Virus to take safety precautions and avoid any form of physical contact.
The Council urged freight forwarders to make use of online platforms in carrying out necessary transactions in clearing cargoes from the port.
In a press statement signed by the Registrar of the CRFFN, Barr Samuel Nwakohu on Wednesday, the CRFFN said the Council is already in full compliance with the directive of the federal government that workers from level 1-12 should stay at home.
He however said that as a critical stakeholder in the supply chain, the Council has also directed that only relevant department and personnel should be at work, adding that its offices nationwide are opened for enquiries and assistance.
“However, the CRFFN passionately advises our immediate stakeholders; the practicing freight forwarders, corporate and individuals, to be conscious of their safety at this trying period of the spread of the deadly COVID -19”
“We are particularly worried about the exposure of the foot-soldier freight forwarders who must be physically present during examination and delivery of cargoes of their principals; the shipper”
“We urge caution, and advise that freight forwarders limit their physical contact, and if need be, please avail yourself of the various protective devices, such as hand sanitizers and nose masks”
“We equally urge freight forwarding companies to procure pocket size sanitizers and masks for their employees”
“The CRFFN is quite aware that, presently, the cargo clearance and delivery process is still far from what can be completed online, hence we advise caution as we all navigate through this period of COVID-19, which is exposing persons in the supply chain to serious health risk globally”
“Once again, freight forwarders are advised to make use of the electronic platforms where applicable and reduce physical presence to examination and delivery alone”
The Council further expressed its solidarity with the Federal Government and the various state governments in efforts to contain the spread of the pandemic Coronavirus (COVID-19).
“We are also appreciative of the efforts so far made by sister agencies, especially the NPA, NIMASA and the Nigerian Shippers Council, all of which have announced varying measures to curtail human contact by announcing partial shutdown of operations at their various offices”
“We know that these measures will help reduce the potential of COVID -19 ravaging the Nigerian maritime and allied sectors”
“We also thank freight forwarding associations which have be leading in the efforts to sensitize their members, we urge you to continue with this and spread the message of social distancing”
“At the CRFFN, our personnel have been updated about their obligations in line with the directives of the Federal Government, which means that staff from level 12 and below should work from their homes” he said