By Nosa Alekhuogie

Determined to maximise its contribution to the development of the nation’s shipping industry, particularly the ports sector, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has unfolded a new strategic plan in its statutory role as the Ports Economic Regulator.

Under the plan, the Council announced a new framework and key performance indicators for the period of three years and expected to guide the ports regulator and personnel for effective delivery in its statutory roles.

The Executive Secretary of the Council, Mr. Hassan Bello, disclosed that the management retreat held at Abeokuta, Ogun State, recently was mainly to examine thoroughly the internal service delivery system of the council.

Bello said that during the retreat, appropriate structures and key performance indicators were set up in line with the goal of the council.

According to him, each department goal was set up as a scientific roadmap to guide the council for optimal performance.

He said that in order to get the best from the council and the personnel, there will be “assessment, evaluation of departments, individuals and the council itself”.

Describing the management retreat as extremely rewarding and illuminating, Bello said the Council is moving ahead with its plans for a stakeholders’ forum as earlier directed by the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.

He said that some issues have been identified to feature during the forum, which according to him will involve all stakeholders in the industry.

Bello said that among the issues include efficiency of the ports system, economic impact of the port system in terms of job and wealth creation.

He also said that the general contribution of the maritime industry to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the 48-hour cargo clearance at the ports would feature.

It would be recalled that the Minister of Transport had said the sector has not contributed enough to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and described the 1.41 percent aggregate contribution as unacceptable.

Other issues to be discussed during forum include review of the concession agreement, ports assessment and deep seaports projects and the Inland Container Depots (ICDs) and Truck Transit Parks (TTP).

He also said that the forum would discuss the national carrier issue, the capacity to operate ships by Nigerians, the state of infrastructure at the ports and anything that will make Nigeria the preferred port in the West African sub-region.

He added that the planned forum would equally discuss the issue of freight forwarding practice, Nigeria’s trade terms in the carriage of crude oil, whether it will be on the basis Free on Board (FOB) or Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF).

The Minister believes that such stakeholders’ forum would come up with ideas on how the maritime sector would contribute more to the GDP.

He had given a revenue target of N500bn each to both Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

He said during a recent forum, “the only way we would not change officers in the sector is if we achieve the N500billion, we cannot achieve it without a proper reform,‎ Nigerian maritime sector must bring part of the money we would use in replenishing the nation, if they cannot meet the target I will tell Mr. President to allow me hire new persons who can help me achieve it.

He added: “Statistics has shown that over 80 per cent of global oil trade is transported by ships, while in the case of Nigeria, it is 100 per cent. The shipping sub-sector of the maritime industry is estimated to be worth over 3 billion dollars annually. It is therefore expedient to stress that transport is demand-driven and government in its commitment to shipping, will consider growth and development of the industry.”