My Kasim Sumaina
The Nigeria Shippers’ Council (NSC) and the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) recently collaborated on how to reduce the cost of doing business through the introduction of insurance cover on containers as well to manage risks at the various ports.
The Executive Secretary, NSC, Hassan Bello, disclosed this when the council’s delegation paid a courtesy visit on the management of NAICOM in Abuja.
Bello, noted that the issue of insurance should be looked at in the area of policies involving goods on transit, accidents, loss, damages away from religious sentiments that everything happened for a reason which could be prevented.
He said the deposit at the ports is about N150, 000 to N200, 000 on each container, which runs into billions making supply costly.
According to him, “as our functions as ports regulator, we have our eyes on the cost of doing business in Nigeria, so in the ease of doing business and the cost of doing business, we want to make our ports competitive, so we have to moderate the cost.
“One of the cost is insurance deposits that shippers pay for taking the containers out of the Port.”
He explained that containers are the assets of the shipping companies, “they must be returned in perfect condition. If the containers are not returned, the deposit is not refunded, when you returned the containers in good time , you collect your deposit back.
“However, that is not as simple as that. Access to the port may be difficult and if a container is not returned within a certain time limit, they could be a problem. One loses his deposit or part of the deposit and so the shippers has to forgo the deposit.”
He added that sometimes, the shipping company even when the containers are returned they don’t pay the deposit in good time and the money is lost, saying, “So, what we are saying is there are a lot of issues like that, that we could have the insurance company come to take care of.”
He said the insurance company could come in, to make sure the containers are covered at a lesser cost, to reduce some of the challenges faced by the Shippers.
“We want policy on the participation of insurance in container regime, there is policy on goods in transit of course, we want the policies to cover most of the risk that shippers, freight forwarders incur including demurrage, rent.
In his response, the Commissioner for Insurance, Mr. Sunday Thomas, said he had being looking forward to the collaboration between the two organisations on how to make insurance significant in the marine sector.
He commended the NSC for bringing up creative and developmental ideas that would deepen the market of the commission in the maritime industry.
Thomas, however said the commission would look into establishing a committee with both agencies to work out modalities of reducing cost of business at the ports.