CREFFPON Highlights Maritime Challenges in 2021, Advises NIMASA, NPA, Shippers Council on Way Forward in 2022

By DAPO OLAWUNI

The Congregation of Registered Freight Forwarding Practitioners Of Nigeria (CREFFPON) in its new year message has highlighted major challenges that confronted the maritime industry stakeholders in 2021, especially the freight forwarding logistics providers.

This is even as it has given workable solutions to some of these challenges which is expected to be worked upon by the various concerned government agencies.

In the new year message signed by Comrade Edwin Chukwudire Obi, noted that many issues begged and are still begging for urgent attention in the industry in the outgone year and the new year.

However, by way of capturing a synopsis of the Industry in the outgone year 2021, the CREFFPON is particularly concern with the following industry issues:

a. NIMASA —- The doggedness of the agency to combat piracy activities at our territorial waters recorded reduction in the sea crime. The CREFFPON is of the opinion that, the Blue Economy project should be communicated further to the stakeholders, especially, in the area of research and human capacity development, as enshrined in the AIM-Strategy content development.

b. The NPA Commitment At Tackling The Apapa Traffic via e- truck call up system – though commendable effort, still requires a fine tuning. Most importantly, traffic has been diverted reasonably to the streets of surrounding cities. The NPA should be concerned about its port rating globally, especially in relation to port friendliness, costs and efficiency.

c. The Noticeable Delays That Trailed The Change Of Guard In The Leadership Of The Nigeria Shippers Council – NSC – Good enough the new helmsman has recently announced his new agenda of actions for the Industry, the CREFFPON wish to state clearly that, the essence of an economic regulator in the industry is gradually losing steam, and we hope that the new agenda will revamp the Industry by instituting an industry pricing system that promotes competiveness and meets the International best practices.

d. The Shipping Companies, Terminal Operators, Customs and others are all declaring excess revenue cum profits, amidst low cargo throughputs. While congratulating them, it equally speaks volumes that something is wrong somewhere in their mode of operations.

d. The new services in the industry, the Barges operations – while commending them for the Interventionist services undertaken to remedy the port Congestion, again we have to caution on the need for a streamlined tariff system and efficiency concerns.

e. The CRFFN Governiing Council Election – The CREFFPON is of the view that, in the year 2022, that the ministry will take a firm stand aimed to conclude the electioneering process. The freight forwarders can not continually afford to stay divided by mere trivial issues. Time to think more of our Profession other than our individual interests is now.

f. The Haulage sector of the freight forwarding profession ,
requires an intervention. The present trucking system needs better reorganization, and the CREFFPON shall be at the forefront to drive this objective in the year. The importance of a transport logistics services can not be overstated, as it touches the lives of Nigerians significantly.

f. Above all, the cost of doing business in the Nigeria ports is still very expensive and does not add up towards a healthy economy.
Today, ports within the region has positioned themselves to transhipment hub and ready for prompt participation in the African Continental Free Trade Area regime. Already, reports of the diversion of the Nigerian bound imports to Lome, Cotonu, Cameroun, Ghana, etc. Their recent cargo throughputs increases is a confirmation to this development.

g. The Finance Ministry /Central Bank of Nigeria Trade Fiscal Policies – The trade policy of uploading more than 41 import items and denying its importers access to Forex, excerpt, the directive that they should source for their imports forex exchange from the paralell markets as directed by the Finance Ministry and monitored by the CBN.
This CBN Forex administration has not impacted both the nation and the trading public positively. Rather, the policy promotes all manners of trade irregularities and non compliance on the part of the trading public, especially in its quest to break even in trade transactions, in relation to profitization.
Worst still, the policy and the poor administration of the forex regime ( persistence forex fluctuations) is a contributory factor in the ailing economic hardship in the country, as the nation is still import dependent.
The CREFFPON hereby call on the CBN and the supervisory ministry to reevaluate the impact of this fiscal policy with a view to reviewing it.

h. The National Trade Facilitation Agreement ( NTFA) – The Federal Ministry of Transport should expedite administrative actions on this over delayed project. The importance of evolving a National Single Window portal in our port value adding supply chain can not be over emphasized.
Presently, many operational challenges persists on this account.

In specific terms, the portal will complment the cargo clearance process within the Customs domain. As the present import clearance procedures and processes is nothing but a bundle of confusion and extortion.

As a nation, there are no doubt the negative impacts of the ailing economic hardship in the land is on the high side. In this regards, our Professional actions and inactions as a contributor to the wide spread hardship should be put under serious checks and balances.

Our industry just like
our dear country is potentially great, but our collective leadership failure at harnessing both human and natural resources for the common good has been a bane over the years.
However, We still have reason to be grateful to the Almighty God for life, and the uncommon grace granted to all of us, .

May we emphasize here again, on the need for all of us to cultivate a new spirit and a resolute to think differently can not be over stated.

To this end, CREFFPON is poised to mobilize the coming together of industry Practices to cross fertilized ideas and cluster Professional energy to make our Industry thrive better in the year 2022.
All we crave for is a sense of determination towards attaining an impactful freight forwarding logistics Services in the year’ 2022.

Wherefore, CREFFPON reiterates the need for the Professionals to cultivate a new spirit and be resolute to think differently in tackling the operational challenges that has bedeviled our Profession.

Once again, to the freight forwarding Practitioners , especially the congregates, CREFFPON sincerely thank you all for your supports and commitments towards joining forces aimed repositioning the freight forwarding profession in Nigeria.

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