The Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Hassan Bello has disclosed that the agency has approached the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) for the purpose accessing funds to finance the establishment of trucks transit parks across the country and major border posts.
He disclosed this when the Senate Committee on Marine Transport paid him a visit as part of its oversight functions.
Bello said the truck transit parks will help rid Nigerian roads of traffic gridlock and enhance the country’s economic activities.
He told the committee that one of the major challenges facing the agency is the loss of $500 million annually to capital flights arising from avoidable storage charges, vessel and container charges.
“We also have the problem of 28 days average container dwell time and the massive traffic gridlock around the port corridor, “he said.
Bello said the federal government has approved the implementation of the International Cargo Tracking Note (ICTN) by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council.
He said the ICTN also known as Advance Cargo Declaration System (ACD) is a global initiative to monitor and verify cargo on transit from port of origin to port of destination.
He added that ICTN is a high tech tool that provides real-time monitoring of security plan of vessels; allow real time generation of advanced information on cargo, including type, origin, quantity and other shipment information.
The NSC boss added that the ICTN, “generates automatic information alert for the port of destination, enhances security and safety of ports and cargo, prevent under-declaration of Gross Registered Tonnage (GRT) of ship and prevents under-declaration and concealment of cargo.
“ICTN will also help to improve revenue accruable to government, hasten Vessel Reception and Cargo Clearance Procedures, reduce cargo dwell time and ultimately reduction of costs of doing business, enhance the determination of freight cost and actual value of sea freight in the transport chain and provide credible data and statistics on oil sales, import and export volume, etc.”
Furthermore, he said the ICTN is important because it is estimated that 80 per cent goods imported to Nigeria are under declared, it is also estimated that there are a lot of concealment.
He stated: “The system will assist customs to calculate their revenue from shipments being expected before they are shipped into the country. Another way of losing revenue is the understating of tonnage of ships that comes to our shores, once we deploy ICT all these will end. It will also accelerate cargo clearance because importers would have received their waybill in advance.
Bello said the agency has also introduced border information centre at Seme Border to provide trade information and formalise trade between Nigeria and Benin Republic.
He said, “Port service support portal has also been introduced to handle the many complaints received by the NSC. Every day we get complains on the happenings at the port we have been able to solve this problem with the port service portal.”