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Mr. Hassan Bello, Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council embarks on familiarisation visits of some of the cargo handling agencies at the ports in a bid to sensitise them on the need to facilitate the realisation of the Federal Government’s target of 48-hour clearance of cargoes at the ports, thereby stepping up revenue for the operators.
By Pita Ochai
The Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Mr Hassan Bello recently attributed the lingering delay of cargoes at the Nigerian ports to the high charges by the cargo handling agencies. He said that in order to facilitate the realisation of Federal Government’s target of a 48-hour clearance of imports, the terminal operators will have to review their charges to hasten the process of cargo clearance.
Bello made the appeal during a recent familiarisation visit to ENL Consortium and Ports and Cargo Handling Services (PCHS) in Apapa, Lagos. He said that as an economic regulator, the Council was determined to ensure that the concessioning of the terminals increased productivity to the benefit of all port users.
Besides, he said the purpose of the visit was to give NSC free access to the terminals and provide information that would enable the Council carry out its duties effectively. “This will give us the opportunity to monitor and coordinate activities in the terminals within the terms of the government. We (NSC) also need the operators to give us information that will help us to measure the level of terminal efficiency.”
The General Manager, ENL Consortium, Mr. Mark Walsh, expressed happiness with the visit of the NSC boss and his team. He noted that without the Council’s assistance, transactions at the ports would have been very challenging. Walsh said that the NSC should issue directives to the operators to fast-track transactions at the ports, adding that ENL Consortium would do all within its capacity to help the NSC achieve its objectives.
The NSC boss and his team also had a two-day working visit to Onne Port in Rivers State where he warned the management of Integrated Logistics Services (INTELS) to steer clear of adopting policies that would make it have monopolistic dominance at the port. He directed the management of the company to immediately stop imposing arbitrary tariffs on the clients and other port stakeholders.
Bello said that following the appointment of the NSC as the commercial regulator of all port activities in Nigeria by the Federal Government, he and his team were at the port as part of NSC’s meet-the-stakeholders programme, aimed at interacting with them on the activities at the various ports.
He promised the management and staff of INTELS that as the regulatory body, NSC would be fair, neutral and also welcome healthy competition based on efficient and prompt service delivery at the port. Bello commended the company for its huge investment at Onne Port, pointing out that it would be the desire of NSC to have another business-minded company like INTELS to develop other ports.
Welcoming the NSC team, the Head of Operations of INTELS, Marko Miskovic who represented the Managing Director, Mr. Simeon Volpi thanked the NSC delegation and used the opportunity to highlight some of the challenges being faced by the company. According to him, the seeming challenges include poor understanding of its operations by several government agencies, poor access road to Onne Port from Port Harcourt, lack of constant power supply from the national grid as well as poor dredging and deepening of Bonny and Warri water channels.