The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), the economic regulator of the Nigerian ports, is not relenting in its efforts to improve port operations, build industry capacity and fine tune freight forwarding in line with international best practices. To this end, the Shippers’ Council in collaboration with the Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) and Vestraker, a Ghanian firm recently organised a train-the-trainer programme for stakeholders at the Lagos Ports Complex.
Mr Hassan Bello, Executive Secretary of the NSC said that the programme became necessary because the practice of freight forwarding in Nigeria is below standard of international best practices. The fall short in the standard of freight forwarding, he explained, is despite the contribution of the shipping industry to the nation’s socio-economic development.
According to him, the lack of standard in the profession has over the years made it an all-comer affair which, in his own view, is inimical to efficient clearance of goods at the ports.“The NSC organised the programme as part of its effort to promote capacity building and bring about international best practice in the sector. For practitioners to operate effectively at the ports, they must be exposed to standards of practice in the profession, which will help in minimizing unethical conducts and promote efficient service delivery,” he said.
The training programme exposed freight forwarders to standard practices, organisation, cost and benchmarks of freight forwarding using the Vestracker experience.
Osam Kyemenu, Coordinator of Vestraker, said that his organisation was in Nigeria to build capacity and improve freight forwarding in Nigeria by training practitioners on the best global standards. “Our main goal is to let the freight forwarding companies know that they need to move away from the status quo and employ international process through the use of technology. Being able to use software to communicate, store important documents and measure their productivity would help practitioners grow,” he said.
Olayiwola Shittu, National President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), commended the Shippers’ Council for organising the programme. He urged freight forwarders to embrace information and communication technology (ICT) to enhance their activities, saying their failure to key into ICT was a major factor responsible for poor standard in the profession. “People don’t like training, they don’t want to spend much in personal development through training, but for you to grow in any chosen field you must seek knowledge,” he said.