Nigerian Shippers’ Council works towards quick cargo clearance at ports

Executive Secretary, NSC, Hassan Bello

The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has intensified efforts to ensure that quick cargo clearance is achieved at the nation’s ports as early as possible, once the freight forwarder has lodged his entry for the process.

To achieve this, officials of the Council have been holding meetings with providers of shipping services, including terminal operators and shipping companies, to ensure that they introduce both equipment and appropriate digital technology that will facilitate quick clearance of goods at their terminals.

The Executive Secretary, Shippers’ Council, Mr Hassan Bello, who acknowledged that there had been a remarkable improvement on the part of the service providers, including the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on the time it takes to clear goods at the ports, said that quick clearance of goods at the ports would bring about multiplier effect on the national economy with benefits to both providers and consumers of shipping services.

Bello said that the Council as the Economic Regulator was very much concerned about the dwell time of cargo in the ports, adding that the agency does not want a situation where goods stay so much in the ports before they are cleared.

The Council boss who was hosted by the NTA said he was happy for the cooperation his Council has been receiving from the providers of shipping services, including NPA, the Customs, terminal operators and shipping companies.

“We are concerned about the dwell time on cargo. We don’t want cargo to stay very long in the port. Port is not a place of storage. As soon as cargo comes in, it is cleared.

“We encourage terminal operators to take their cargo away from the port for examination. We are happy we are getting cooperation from the Customs, the terminal operators and NPA.

“We commend NPA for introducing e-commerce which means that payment which used to take five days is now done in minutes. Many agencies are embracing this. It is our job to ensure that the ports are efficient”, he said.

Bello pointed out that through various efforts of the Council and other agencies, there has been a remarkable improvement in ports efficiency.

For instance, he disclosed that importers who do not have query on their declarations after lodgment of entries could clear their goods within three days as against 21 days before.

Similarly, he said the Council does not want ships bringing goods into the country to be delayed before leaving the ports.

According to him, the turnaround time of vessels calling at the ports has improved from 21 days to 3-4 days, adding that this has been possible through the introduction of appropriate technology in the system.

He said that this type of development would impact positively on the imports and the general economy as it would attract more patronage for the country.

“If you look at turnaround time for ships, it used to be 21 days but now, 3-4 days ships have discharged their cargo and they are gone. This is because appropriate technology has been introduced at the terminals…. We audited these terminals and supervised them, and we advised what they need to do to make Nigerian ports efficient so that many people will use Nigerian ports”, he said.

He said that at all time, the target of the Council would be to ensure that Nigerian ports achieve the efficiency level that is comparable to any international standard.