By Eromosele Abiodun
The President of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transportation, Mr Ibrahim Jibril, has commended the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Mr Hassan Bello, over efforts by the council to reduce the cost of shipping and attract more cargoes to the country.
Jibril, who stated this when he paid a courtesy visit to Bello in Lagos, applauded the NSC for the rejection of the arguments of some terminal operators for the introduction of congestion charges.
“The Institute has been closely following up on the giant steps of the council in protecting the interest of shippers, in its commercial regulatory function of the ports, in its resolve to reduce the costs of shipping and the huge costs allocation to local transportation of shipments, in its rejection of the arguments of some terminal operators for the introduction of congestion charges, etc.
“It is clear that it is in the overall best interest of our economy, that you have to embark on the full development of the Truck Transit Parks (TTPs). The establishment and use of TTPs cannot be more important than now. This can be evidenced in the increasing need for ‘Break Bloc’, trans shipments, truck inspection and certification, and in the listing of trucks for specific cargo lifting calls from the ports,” he said.
He added that the full functioning of TTPs would, especially for those situated near the ports, serve as the listing or take off points for all trucks heading to the affected ports.
“It is in administering the TTPs in that fashion that trucks, not listed for the ports, would not obtain the necessary clearance for heading to the ports, from the affected TTPs. In a similar fashion, we clearly align with your optimism in pushing £0, a National Transport Commission Bill.
“It is also our expectation that, whatever policy mechanisms for advancing transportation needs of the country is enunciated, it will be accommodated in the Bill. Accordingly, and in the circumstance of the NSC, having the NSC to advance to executing the roles of the National Transport Commission would be a welcome development.
“The attention of the Institute has been drawn to the federal government’s N250 billion portfolio investment in the establishment of a Special Economic Zones’ Company Limited. Although this portfolio investment seeks to integrate the NSC’s original freight stations and Inland Container Depots (lCDs) into the scheme, the concern of the Institute is on the newly identified Green Zones, where huge mm facilities would be required beyond the above, our optimism hovers around how the NSC would use the zones to leverage its operations, against Nigeria’s endorsement of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA),”he said.
In his response, Bello stressed the need for Nigeria to get its logistics right in order to cut the cost of transportation, “which is high if you look at the cost of production. This we should not tolerate.”
With efficient logistic change, he said Nigeria should be able to cut this to the minimum adding that logistics is indispensable to the development of this country.
He added: “I am also extremely happy to make a pledge here that the way of our participation is not by design but by many changes the council is going through this time. We have had expansion of our directorates from four to five and now nine. We are looking to solidify our involvement especially in trade facilitation apart from our looking at cargo interest and also economic regulator of the ports.
“I am also happy for their solidarity on behalf of the National Transport Commission (NTC) Bill going through the legislative process because what many people don’t know is that the NTC is not a port council bill it is an industry bill and it happens to be the promoter of that.
“There were public hearing and the institute was there and so many others like shipping companies who support the formulation of neutral economic regulator because that is what obtains globally. So it is not a shipper’s council bills rather an industry bill and we hope you continue to support us.”