As Nigeria, especially commercial centres grapple with crippling traffic, poor port and road infrastructure, the nation has been ranked 110 out of 160 countries in Global Logistics Performance Index (LPI).
The LPI is an interactive bench-marking tool created to help countries identify the challenges and opportunities they face in their performance on trade logistics and what they can do to improve their performance. The LPI allows for comparisons across 160 countries.
The LPI, according to the World Bank Group, is based on a worldwide survey of operators on the ground (global freight forwarders and express carriers), providing feedback on the logistics “friendliness” of the countries in which they operate and those with which they trade.
Speaking on the development, the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) expressed worry over Nigeria’s poor ranking in the LPI, stressing that the poor ranking is worrisome and must be addressed.
The Registrar of CRFFN, Samuel Nwakohu stated this while speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting on practitioners’ operating fee (POF) regime titled: “A New Decade of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria.”
To address the worrisome situation, he said the council must begin the collection of the POF as approved by the Federal Ministry of Finance (FMOF).
According to him, the LPI ranking says a lot about Nigeria’s freight forwarding industry, “which must be addressed in other to compete with its contemporaries in Africa and the world.”
“Freight forwarding is a big and noble business. It is both trade facilitating and mover of global economy, hence, the World Bank in recognition of this fact established the Global Logistics Performance Index as the new metric for measuring national competitiveness,” he said.
The indices, the CRFFN registrar said, are efficiency of the clearance process, that is, speed, simplicity and predictability of formalities by border control agencies, including customs.
“Other indices are: Quality of trade and transport related infrastructure (e.g., ports, railroads, roads, information technology); ease of arranging competitively priced shipments; competence and quality of logistics services (e.g., transport operators, customs brokers); ability to track and trace consignments and timeliness of shipments in reaching destination within the scheduled or expected delivery time.
“Incidentally, this metric became operational in 2007, the year CRFFN was born. It may interest you to know that out of the six parameters in this metric, five are strictly freight forwarding functions. So, freight forwarders are the real logisticians when it comes to national economy.”
The registrar added that Nigeria is not faring well amongst the comity of nations, noting that this ranking says a lot about Nigeria and her freight forwarding industry.
“To assert our relevance, we must be seen to be addressing these issues especially when we observe that small countries like Cote D’ Ivoire and Rwanda rank 50th and 57th position respectively. This is certainly not where we should be and Nigeria’s freight forwarding industry must brace up and reposition as a matter utmost urgency,” he said.
Nwakohu, stated that a cursory look at the new face of freight forwarding revealed a positive disruption in the form of digitalisation, “this has enabled big players to build digital data warehouses with millions of data points.”
“As a result, shippers can select from different modes of transport, add on services receive quotes and book shipments in a matter of minutes on an online platform. This is a big threat to Nigeria if we don’t respond fairly quickly. In the months to come, we shall be spending a great deal of our time on how to compete in the global platform.
It therefore, becomes imperative that we must raise financial capital to fund and face the battle and the POF is our first point of take-off. The POF regime is a win-win for the government and the practitioners with the promise of organised collective action against the numerous threats including foreign intrusion and dominance, near absence of local content participation in oil and gas services including the need to build real capacity for effective participation in new African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) regime,”he stated.