The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has stressed the need for maritime stakeholders to comply with the Nigerian Port Process Manual (NPPM) with a view to promoting efficiency and transparency in port operations.
Speaking at a two- day seminar with the theme, “Global Best Practices in Port Operations and the Industry Perspective’ in Lagos on Tuesday, Executive Secretary of the NSC, Emmanuel Jime said implementation of the port manual has facilitated the ease of doing business in the ports and drastically reduced corrupt tendencies.
He said the purpose of the seminar organised by the Port Standing Task Team (PSTT) is to provide stakeholders the opportunity to deliberate on ‘subject of mutual interest, identify problems bedeviling the sector, and proffer sustainable solutions’.
He noted that deliberations on obligations of various stakeholders, mode of terminal operations, shipping operations, attitude of truckers and role of dock workers as enshrined in the port manual would provide beneficial information which would add to their knowledge of the sector to foster operational efficiency in line with global best practices.
The NSC boss while commending the PSTT for its laudable achievements since it was instituted added that proper understanding and application of the port manual would bring about cost-effectiveness, reduction of waste while maintaining quality of service.
He added that it would also bring about transparency in the conduct of port businesses, which would produce trust and goodwill while safeguarding the industry’s reputation among investors, partners, customers and other stakeholders.
“I commend the doggedness and commitment of the Port Standing Task Team (PSTT) which has resulted in the laudable achievements recorded since the commencement of the operations of the team.
“It is my belief that if relevant stakeholders and authorities comply with approved standards and rules as enshrined in the manual, challenges faced today will automatically ease off and pave the way for seamless operations at our port,” he said.
Coordinator of PSTT, Moses Fadipe while discussing the overview and feedback on the manual urged all agencies to review their system to comply with the standard of the NPPM.
He pointed out that the manual was designed as a zero-tolerance policy for wastefulness.
According to Fadipe, the team at the port corridor are to arrest the logjam caused by trucks, adding that they have achieved some semblance of orderliness with the improved turn-around time of cargo examination.
“What this means is that more containers are examined and this increases the traffic of trucks moving out of our ports, from 125 in Apapa to 195, from an average of 170 in Tin Can to 230.
“So, with all these statistics, we know that more trucks are coming into the ports,” he said.
Fadipe noted that the PSTT had instituted an enduring mechanism such as advocacy, education/workshop, intelligence gathering, introduction of registers for monitoring examiners and others, which he has aided their operations.
He listed some of the hindrances experienced as flagrant disregard to joint boarding on examination of cargo, excessive sample taking, boarding officers’ misinterpretation of information and misuse of power.
“The task team is inundated with complaints and suggestions pointing at serious barriers to business.
“Specialised civil society in the industry and private operators may be viewing agencies of government as too preoccupied with the idea of stopping trucks outside the ports for investigations.
“As representatives of the government, we are challenged to look inward to identify personnel that are compromising at cargo examinations leading to stoppages on the roads and bridges of the corridors.
“If it is a case of unskillfulness, it will be necessary that the capacities of the examination officials are built properly. These will serve to enhance the corporate image of our respective organisations,” he said.