Customs agents applaud NSC on moves to sanitise Ports

By Sulaimon Salau

Customs agents have commended the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) over moves to enthrone efficiency at the nation’s ports.
The freight forwarders said the equipment audit on terminal operators as well as checks on illegal charges by shipping lines were having positive impact in the ports.

According to the freight forwarders, goods delivery at the ports has improved tremendously as a result of the various interventions introduced by the NSC as the ports economic regulator.

A freight forwarder, Mr. Ade Ogunlana, who spoke to journalists, described the equipment audit as a measure that has kept the terminal operators on their toes as they have been compelled to invest in new and modern cargo handling equipment.

Ogunlana said this has helped in quick positioning of containers for examination at the ports throughout the country.
He said: “What we have witnessed is that in most terminals, positioning of containers for examination is no longer delayed as was the case before.  This is even the same in discharge of goods from the ship to the quayside unlike before when the whole terminals were littered and congested with containers as a result of lack of enough equipment to move these goods to stacking areas.”

He also added that frivolous introduction of charges has abated, adding that the NSC has been able to force the shipping services providers to come to a negotiation table before new charges are introduced.

Another customs agent, Mr. Nicholas Ojemba, also described the measures by the ports economic regulator in achieving efficiency at the ports as commendable.

Ojemba said many importers and exporters were now becoming cautious in fraudulent practices at the ports.
He also added that the policing of the nation’s seaports by the Port Standing Task Team (PSTT) headed by an official of the NSC has compelled shippers, customs agents, Customs officers and other security personnel to be cautious on various forms of illegality.

Ojemba said the position of the NSC that boarding of ships calling at the ports and examination of containers by security agents at the ports be streamlined to involve all the agencies at once is working except in few cases.

“Except in few cases, examination of goods is done by all the security agencies. This is the same for boarding of vessels calling at the ports. This has helped in reducing delay and also extortion involving the various agencies,” Ojemba said.

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