CRFFN forecloses forced merger for freight forwarding firms
BY FRANCIS EZEM
The Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding Practice in Nigeria CRFFN has ruled out the possibility of consolidation among the freight forwarding companies, which might lead to forced mergers and acquisition in this sub-segment of the maritime industry at least for now.
This clarification had become expedient following speculations late last year that the Federal Government was considering a form of regulatory consolidation, under which the existing freight forwarding companies would be compelled to shore up their capital base, which would enable them undertake bigger and more technical responsibilities such as fleet management, among others as it is the practice in developed climes.
Chairman of the council, Tsanni Abubakar, who spoke in an interview, assured that the council is not considering any form of consolidation that may compel them to merge in order to shore up their capital base, saying that plans are rather underway to commence massive training sessions to make them comply with international best practice.
He argued that the freight forwarding practice in the country is still emerging and therefore cannot be compared with those in developed parts of the world, insisting that what the council is planning is to provide adequate regulatory framework for the indigenous freight forwarding firms to grow and gradually become competitive with their peers abroad.
“You cannot begin to compare the Nigerian firms with their peers abroad, which have evolved over the years. What we need to do is to provide them with the needed regulation and capacity building trainings that would enable them to grow and over time they will compete with their peers abroad.
“It will therefore be unfair to begin to compel them to merge in order to increase their capital base to be able to carry out more technical and bigger responsibilities such as managing fleets. The council believes that if they are properly trained and given the right business environment, they will grow and become competitive and over time become capable of handling such responsibilities you talked about”, the chairman also asserted.
He said that the vision of the new board of the council is to synergise with other stakeholders in the cargo supply chain with a view addressing the massive congestion of cargo rocking the seaports in Lagos, thus moving the industry to its next level of efficiency and competitiveness.
Abubarkar also expressed optimism that the series of training programmes lined up for the freight forwarding practitioners would further boost their proficiency in the trade by making them more professional and strictly adhering to international best practice.
The chairman also disclosed that after their election and inauguration by the Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, members of the board visited the freight forwarding associations during which they discovered that the leaderships of the associations have great a great job in bringing sanity to their fold.
He commended the leadership of the associations for their promise of collaborating and supporting the council in its new mission, saying that the new board and management would always liaise and carry along the leadership of the associations in the council’s policies and programmes.