By DAPO OLAWUNI
Fresh indications have emerged that the present crop of board members of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) are going to scrap the payment and use of access cards by terminal operators at the ports.
This hint was dropped by a member of the board, Alhaji Tanko Ibrahim in a chat with DAILY TREND on Wednesday.
Tanko said the CRFFN would issue identity cards to all freight forwarders which would supersede that currently being imposed on them by the terminal operators.
Findings by our correspondent showed that almost all terminal operators at the ports operate access cards which they collect monies, ranging from N10,000 upwards from freight forwarders on annual basis for renewal.
According to him, the board would also investigate and penalize shipping companies who fail to return container deposits they have collected from freight forwarders as at when due
Tanko said it was a pity that the last CRFFN board failed woefully, and they failed to address major operational challenges confronting freight forwarders.
He however said the present board would not be able to achieve much in solving these issues unless the Practitioner Operations Fee (POF) collection is enforced.
“We have serious issues with the shipping companies and terminal operators, they wake up in the morning and just jerk up their rent, they do not care, it takes them five days for you to get debit note, and yet you pay for all their delays.
There is need for the board to see how we can caution this people.
“Secondly, on the issue of holding bays, there is need for us to end it. On the issue of container refund, there is need for us to look into it, they must pay freight forwarders back their refunds as at when due.
“If you are looking at the last Council, they did nothing, they did not represent us in anyway, this is why we are coming up with changes and I bet you, you would see changes.
“The issue of POF, we cannot run anything without money, everybody must comply with POF, any terminal operator that refuses to comply would be suspended by the NPA.
“CRFFN is not a private body, it is a government body, so they must comply so that we can work” he said
On the issue of identity cards for freight forwarders, Tanko said it must be issued and it must be valid for access into the ports.
“These are reasons why we were elected, we are here to represent our people.
Take for example, they would tell you to get an access card before seeing a custom officer, when I am a member of CRFFN? For what? They must separate customs gate and their own gates” he said