Iju Nwabunike wins Freight Forwarder of Decade Awards …Pledges commitment to operators’ wellbeing
It was pomp and pageantry as National President of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents ANLCA, Hon. Iju Tony Nwabunike in Lagos Tuesday, emerged the Freight Forwarder of the Decade bestowed on him at the 2020 edition of the Shipping World Magazine Achievers Awards.
According to the organisers of the programme, Nwabunike emergence for the award followed massive and overwhelming stakeholders’ votes against other nominees, which is in recognition of his versatility in the business of freight forwarding with over 27 years of progressive experience in Nigeria’s maritime industry.
Nwabunike, who was also the pioneer Chairman of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding Practice in Nigeria CRFFN, is reputed to have improved on the operational standards of the Automated Systems for Customs Data ASYCUDA, now the Nigeria Integrated Customs Information System NICIS II, using his wealth of operational experience.
A graduate of Business Administration and Management from the Institute of Management Technology IMT Enugu, he also holds a Bachelor Degree in Political Science from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Management from the University of Lagos and several other certificates in the fields of oil and gas, Maritime industry, hospitality and logistics and transports, among several others.
As a successful businessman and Managing Director/CEO, Mac-Tonnel Nigeria Limited, a Customs Brokerage firm, he has investments in several sectors of the nation’s economy covering Maritime and shipping, hospitality and tourism, oil and gas as well as logistics and transport.
A multiple award winner, he has won best Customs Brokerage Agent bestowed on him by the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria MARAN in 1999, most enterprising shipping agent in 2002 due to his diligence and dedication to duty in the maritime industry, Nwabunike holds many traditional titles including Iju Ozubulu and Otunba Fiwasaye of Iyere Kingdom of Ondo State.
He has also attended many professional courses including Diploma from National Institute of Shipping Fellows FNIS, Chartered Freight Forwarder from the CRFFN in addition to being member of many professional bodies.
While speaking with Journalists on the significance of the award to him, he noted that being crowned the most outstanding freight forwarder in the last 10 years was ahuge honour to him, which he cherishes most among the scores of awards he ever received in his shipping career spanning over 20 years.
He disclosed that this award would also spur him to continue to seek for ways to improve the lot of the freight forwarding practitioners and all the professionals in this sub-sect of the maritime industry, admitting that the industry is currently bedeviled by myriads of challenges and operational difficulties which must be addressed to enhance competitiveness.
“First of all, I want to appreciate you all my friends in the media for finding time out of your busy schedules to grace the occasion. I must tell you here that of all the awards that I have received over time, I cherish being awarded the most the most outstanding freight forwarder in the last decade.
“This is because as Journalists, many of you that participated in the nomination and voting processes must have done proper homework and came to a conclusion to vote me for the honour I appreciate and covet it so much.
“Talking about challenges faced by the freight forwarding practitioners in Nigeria visa vis the port industry, you know we are faced problem of poor infrastructure, multiplicity of government agencies, imposition of value by officers and men of the Nigeria Customs Service, activities of the government agencies, challenges associated with government itself and even the shipping companies and terminal operators”, he said.
Meanwhile, Publisher of the Shipping World Magazine, Elder Asu Beks, while delivering a welcome address at the event, urged the Federal Government to urgently address the myriads of challenges faced by the maritime industry, which he described as the imminent cash cow for the country given the uncertainties in the global oil market.