The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) on Tuesday said intervention by the Port Standing Task Team (PSTT) set up to implement the Nigerian Ports Process Manual (NPPM) has saved the Nigerian economy $6.54million (N3.27billion) as vessel demurrage between 2020 and 2021.
Executive Secretary of the NSC, Emmanuel Jime, who disclosed this at a media parley in Lagos said activities of the PSTT, which focused on joint vessel boarding, joint cargo examination and operation free ports access roads, has facilitated the ease of doing business at the nation’s ports and drastically reduced corruption tendencies.
Jime added that the average time for resolving complaints with regards to vessel infractions has also reduced from 7-10 days to 1–4 hours.
“On joint vessel boarding by mandated government agencies, the activities of the PSST team saved the Nigerian economy an average vessel demurrage of $20, 000 per day between year 2020 and 2021, which ultimately translates to the sum of $6, 540, 000 (N3, 270, 000, 000.00k).
“More than 85 percent of vessels that called at Nigerian Ports in 2021 left without any incident, which was not the case in time past,” he said.
On compliance with joint cargo examination by all government agencies involved in cargo clearance, Jime said the exercise has helped to increase the number of cargoes examined per day from 125 to an average of 230 boxes daily per terminal.
“In the area of complaints handling and resolution, the Council in 2021 received and handled 518 complaints, while in the first quarter of 2022, 100 complaints were received and handled. The Council in 2021 was able to recover the sum of N1billion while in the first quarter of 2022, stakeholders were saved of the sum of N18, 493, 961.70.
“The Council is currently working on compilation and analysis of complaints handled in the second quarter of year 2022,” he said.
Speaking on efforts by the port task team to free the port access roads of illegal checkpoints, Jime said while corruption is currently fighting back, the Council is determined to eliminate endemic corruption at the nation’s ports.
He said, “We have to rid the port of the endemic corruption that has gone up to a level anybody can ever imagine. What we found out is that most of the other ranks (security officials) don’t just wake up in the morning to go and mount checkpoints. They have superior officers that they make returns to. That is why all the previous interventions done by previous administrations failed.
“This is the magnitude of the problem concerning corruption at the ports. We will fight it the best way we can. We will ensure people are held accountable for their actions and the work of the PSST will continue.”
On other achievements recorded since his assumption of office in 2021, Jime said the Council collaborated with Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) on the establishment and operation of Domestic Export Warehouses.
According to him, a total of 12 Domestic Export Warehouses nationwide have been approved for commencement of operations.
“Some of the facilities granted approval to begin operations included; GEZEWA Commodity Exchange in Kano, MV EHILOMEL, Onne in Rivers State, ESSLIBRA in Ikorodu-Lagos State, Harris Logistics in Lokoja-Kogi State, Sealink Limited in Ajaokuta – Kogi State, Kaduna Inland Dry Port in Kaduna State, AMES-Edo Inland dry Port in Benin-Edo State,” he said.
In the area of sanctions, he said the NSC has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) to institute a consumer protection regime for the shipping and port industry adding that, “We have concluded arrangements for the inauguration of a joint committee that will drive the implementation of the MoU,”.
He said the NSC is also working with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to inaugurate the implementation committee on the operations of Inland Dry Ports in Nigeria.
“For the various Inland Dry Port, Dala Inland Dry Port is 95 percent completed and preparing for official commissioning and commencement of operations in July 2022.
“Funtua Inland Dry Port in is 85 percent completed and preparing for its official commissioning later in the year.
“Facilitation and supervision of the handover of the Heipang-Jos Inland Dry Port Project to Plateau Investment and Property Development Company (PIPC) to ensure the completion and commissioning of the project later in the year is also in progress.
“We have also facilitated full automation of port processes and activities. We also facilitated industrial harmony through Council’s intervention during disputes involving the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) and Shipping Companies.
“We are also promoting the establishment of an International Maritime Resource Centre in Jos and also collaborating with the Adamawa State Government on the establishment of Vehicle Transit Areas and Border Information Centre in Adamawa,” he said.