The Executive Secretary/CEO of the Nigerian Shippers Council, Hassan Bello has said that the modest achievements being recorded by the management under his supervision have their deep roots in the past, as most of his predecessors had already laid the foundation for him to build on.

Recall that the council, which was appointed the commercial regulator for the seaport industry about three years ago under the current management had embarked on many reforms that saw the reduction in port charges, scrapping of arbitrarily imposed fees and levies, introduction of the Truck Transit Parks TTPs, Standards Operating Procedure SOP, incorporates Port Service Support Portal, PSSP and reinvigourating the Inland Dry Ports IDPs project, as many of the concessionaires abandoned the project, among several others.

Bello who was responding to encomiums and accolades poured on him by stakeholders and his colleagues, who are also, head of government agencies as a humble achiever at the annual stakeholders appreciation night organised to thank the various service providers and users for the support and cooperation in the course of the year, which held in Lagos, Thursday, however said that the foundation of whatever is being achieved now had been laid by his predecessors.

Bello, who took out time to recognise the immence contributions of the past CEOs of the council such as Mr. Kingsley Usor, Chief Adebayo Sarumi, Captain Adamu Biu and Mrs. Obiozor, many of who he described as great Transport Economists, said that he still consults these past leaders of the organisation, saying that none has for once declined to assist in terms of advice and wise counsel even at the shortest notice.

It was further gathered that in addition to calling them on phone for counsel, the historical events such as policies and programmes are so well documented in such a manner that when the need arises, one just opens the relevant files and solutions to what one would have thought is a great challenge would be handy after going through the files.

He also commended members of staff for their dedication, diligence and hard work, which contributed in no small measures to these modest achievements, saying that the workers sometimes have to close late from office to ensure that certain things were done within schedule.

Bello said: “This night is not about me or the Nigerian Shippers Council; it is about the service providers and users. Many of the things we do today have their deep roots in the past. In fact sometimes I begin to think that we are opportunists. When we have a challenge, we open a file and the solutions are there. So the past leaders did a lot for us to build on.

“The council has over the years been an incubator of ideas in terms of good policies and programmes that have made great impacts on the efficiency of the port system; talking about the port concession programme, the National Transport Commission NTC, the IDPs, among others were not done by me.

“What is important in this industry is not position or hierarchy but synergy among all the stakeholders. There is need for all of us to cooperate and support one another in the interest of the industry in particular and Nigeria’s economy as a whole”

He thanked the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, who he described as having a soft spot for the council for charting a new course for the agency, saying that through his guidance, the departments in the council has increased from five to eight even as salaries and allowances of members of staff have been increased.

He also commended the Minister for his relentless efforts at bringing the nucleus of the NTC to the council and his support for the NTC Bill in the course of its legislative processes, which saw the successful passage of the bill, which is now awaiting President Muhammadu Buhari’s assent.

Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, one of the many stakeholders that delivered goodwill messages, commended the management for the introduction of the stakeholders’ appreciation night, which he said implied that the stakeholders are at the core of the industry and thus, no stakeholders, no maritime industry.

He noted that through the support of the Minister, the council has recorded tremendous reforms both in terms of structure of the council and building transport infrastructure, which would stand the test of time, saying that its transmission to the NTC is an eloquent testimony to these wonderful reforms.

The event, which turned out to be a who is who in the maritime industry, had in attendance Senator Gbenga Ashafa, Chairman, Genesis Worldwide Shipping, Captain Emmanuel Iheanacho, Managing Director of the National Inland Waterways Authority NIWA, Dr. Olorunnibe Mamora, Chairman of the Starz Group, Engr. Greg Ogbeifun, Chairman, Seaports Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria STOAN, Princess Vicky Haastrup, Chief Executive Officers of shipping companies and freight forwarders, among others.