By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Chairman, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) at Tin Can Island Port Chapter, Prince Segun Oduntan has lamented the absence of Nigerian Shippers Council inside Nigerian seaports and terminals, saying that this has hampered the regulatory functions of the agency.
The ANLCA chairman also called on the council to expedite action on scrapping of the controvertial “Container Deposits” collection at the port by shipping companies, and to replace it with an ‘insurance scheme’ as proposed by the Council months ago.
Oduntan said their was need for the Shippers Council officials to be inside the ports to monitor vessel rotation, according to him, it is an aberration for clearing agents to always run to Shippers Council headquarters in Apapa before complaints can be laid.
“The Shippers Council claimed that they have representatives inside the terminals, but we have never seen anybody, you can never see anybody inside the terminal identifying himself as staff of Shippers Council, we as associations, we dont know their beat inside the terminal”
“If it is true that Shippers Council is port regulator of terminal operators and shipping companies, then they should be given an office inside the port, so that if we need anything urgently, we can quickly go to their beat inside the port, they should be given an office inside the port.
They need to follow vessel rotation going in and out of the port”
Oduntan charged the Council to ensure that the “Meeting of head of maritime Agencies” looks into vessel rotation at Nigerian ports.
According to him “When a vessel is coming into Nigerian port with 1,000 boxes, the NPA, NIMASA Customs and Shippers Council are all there to receive the vessel and everybody signs, but when the vessel is going back, she would carry 150 containers, why did they allow the vessel to sail?
“All these agencies are now having a common meeting together, why can’t they insist that vessels must go back with the equivalent number of containers they come with?
“These shipping companies would leave their boxes in Nigeria because we are not regulated, the vessels would rather go to Ghana to pick exports there.
There is no road for our export cargoes to come into the port, they have been blocked by empty containers”
The ANLCA chairman insisted that container deposits should be scrapped at Nigerian ports because the country is not in a war zone.
“The Shippers Council should do insurance, the money that shipping companies are collecting from us, they are not bothered at all.
If I deposit N250,000 now, they would take that money before the container returns, I would even have a deposit of N150,000, this is a business that gives them easy money on its own”
“The Shippers Council said they are introducing insurance but we have not heard anything about it again, the sincerity is not there” he lamented