The Executive Secretary/CEO of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Emmanuel Jime, has said that members will not continue to remain at the mercy of foreign shipping lines to determine the fate of its trade and transport; through the imposition of unreasonable charges and surcharges on Nigerian economies.
Addressing participants Tuesday in Abuja, during the Union Of African Shippers’ Councils’ (UASC) Committee of Experts Meeting; Expanded Standing Committee No. 1 Meeting and Mini-Sensitization Workshop on African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), Jime implored members to leverage on relevant technologies to increase efficiency, advise various governments on required policies and regulations to boost trade and transport sector and discourage the continuous implementation of processes that contribute to delays and high cost of doing business at Nigerian ports.
He said: “This meeting provides another platform to enable members interact and share information to keep us abreast of the sub-regional trend on transport and related matters that would guide us in taking informed decisions to utilize our potentials and maximize our areas of comparative advantage. We have to deliberate on thematic issues and make far reaching resolutions to address the challenges of high transport cost in the sub region.
“We cannot continue to remain at the mercy of the foreign shipping lines to determine the fate of our trade and transport through the imposition of unreasonable charges and surcharges on our economies. There is need to scrutinize details involved in determining the cost of services rendered at our ports, make scientific comparisons with other ports of the world and arrive at acceptable rates for mutually beneficial transactions.
“It is time for us to rise to the occasion by leveraging on relevant technologies to increase efficiency, advice our various governments on required policies and regulations to boost our trade and transport sector and discourage the continuous implementation of processes that contribute to delays and high cost of doing business at our ports.” .
He added: “The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) 2020 report shows that the total trade for Africa was about $386 Billion and the West and Central Africa accounted for more than 36% of this figure. This reflects the importance of the sub region in the economy of the African continent, but I believe we can do better if we critically address our areas of inefficiencies..
“The UASC has a big role to play in promoting the implementation of AFCFTA to the benefit of her member countries. As we are all aware, there is huge imbalance in trade between Africa and the rest of the world. We need to correct this anomaly through aggressive sensitization and putting in place relevant processes and infrastructure to make trade within the sub region easier and by extension to the entire continent..
“We have identified the issues that need to be addressed within two days. I would like to urge all participants to make submissions with practical country experiences to enable us develop frameworks that would address most of our peculiar challenges and come up with comprehensive resolutions.”Speaking earlier, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, said that the Federal Government is aware of the unreasonably high cost of transportation of goods to and from the sub-regional ports, due to high freight rates, poor infrastructure and arbitrary surcharges such as war risk surcharges, port recovery surcharge, port congestion surcharge, peak season surcharge, Bunker Adjustment Factor (BAF), Currency Adjustment Factor (CAF), extra insurance risk surcharge, among others, and will implement the outcome of the meeting; “in order to reduce the cost of doing business, promote efficiency and competition in our country”.