The Shippers Association of Lagos State (SALS) has vowed to vacate its second- floor office accommodation at the corporate headquarters of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council.
Spokesman of SALS, Dr. Kayode Farinto, told newsmen in Apapa that the plan to vacate the premises was due to ill-treatment from the Council and its failure to protect cargo owners.
He added that SALS would also monitor the Cargo Defense Fund to ensure that it is deployed for the purpose it was established, to avoid any form of controversy over it.
“Cargo Defense Fund is there to help shippers cushion the effect of the harsh realities of the economy in the face of COVID-19 and other issues. This year, we will look into it to ensure it doesn’t become moribund like the CVFF,” Farinto said.
“In the NSC Act, the role of a Shipper is very clear. A Shipper is a person that brings a cargo into a port area for the cargo owner, which is the importer.
“Section 3 Sub-section C of the NSC Act under number 13, states that the Nigerian Shippers Council should encourage the formation of shippers association all over the country. What this means is that it is not only Lagos State that should have a Shippers Association.
“Every State of the federation should have a Shippers association. Although we have a national shippers association that has been formed, they have not been vibrant. Maybe they will be vibrant this year, we just pray so,” he said.
He said SALS have looked at the role of the shippers in the nation’s maritime industry and have realized that they have not been carried along by the NSC in their activities.
“You people know that the Shippers Council currently accommodates Shippers in Lagos. We were given an accommodation on the second floor of the NSC headquarters. You people need to visit that place to see the kind of accommodation that the NSC has given us.
“Due to this poor arrangement and lack of adequate projection, we have come to a conclusion that for us to be widely heard and listened to, the Shippers Association of Lagos State might move out of the NSC headquarters this year,” he stated.
He added that the shipper faced the worst conditions, considering the challenges in import value chain the import; trade barriers.
“It is unfortunate that the Federal Government is paying lip service to trade facilitation. Last year, Nigeria nearly entered back into recession because we don’t produce anything. As an import-dependent economy, we need to have trade facilitation at our ports.”