Executive Secretary/CEO, Nigerian Shippers Council, Mr. Hassan Bello

The Nigerian Shippers Council NSC, the economic regulator for the country’s port industry has said it is concluding plans to commence the collection of data that would help promote trade in the country.

Executive Secretary/CEO of the council, Mr. Hassan Bello, who spoke in a recent interview, disclosed that the NSC would be liaising with the office of the Statistician of the Federation with a view to generating relevant date that would promote trade in the country.

According to him, apart from regulatory functions, it is the statutory responsibility of the council to facilitate trade not only in the country but across international frontiers in the overall interest of the nation’s economy.

He argued that in facilitating trade, one would definitely rely on relevant trade data, which would provide the necessary guide or roadmap that would inform investment decisions.

“So much of our activities in the coming year would centre on data collection, which would enhance our core mandate of economic port regulation as well as trade facilitation. We are going to liaise with relevant agencies of the government to achieve this. Specifically, we are already discussing with the Statistician of the Federation in order to achieve this”, Bello said.

The NSC-boss said that in carrying out its trade facilitation functions, the council interfaces with relevant government agencies such as the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN, the Nigeria Customs Service, the Nigerian Ports Authority, terminal operators, freight forwarders, consolidators, shipping companies and agencies as well as many other relevant bodies both in the public and private sector including the commercial banks.

According to him, in a bid to effectively carry out its trade facilitation functions, the council has come up with several innovations one of which is the Truck Transit Park TTP project, which would provide a temporary resting place for drivers of trucks and other articulated vehicles carrying trade goods as part of measures to check carnage on the roads as well as destruction of these goods.

Currently, the council is liaising with the Federal Road Safety Corps FRSC in the enforcement of the TTP Code to enhance compliance, a development that led to recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding MoU between the two agencies.

It was also in a bid to facilitate transparency in international trade business that the council introduced the Cargo Tracking Note CTN, which is an advance cargo information that monitors the movement of consignments from the port of loading to the final port of destination.

Bello believes that when fully implemented, the CTN would address the current rampant cases of smuggling of arms and ammunitions as well as other dangerous items into the country, among several others.

He therefore said that there was urgent need for every segment of the industry whether public or private sector to cooperate and collaborate with the council in the overall interest of Nigeria’s economy.

According to him, as a commercial regulator, the council is also a trade facilitator and therefore placed in a vantage position to look at issues holistically, which accounts for why it relates with all the operators.

“There is need for synergy among the operators including the government agencies because no one agency, be it private or public can do it alone because no man is an island”

“As a regulator, we are at a vintage position to look at issues more holistically and that is why we always interface with terminal operators, consolidators, and insurance companies, shipping companies, shipping agent, freight forwarders and even the maritime media. We have the vantage position to maximise the potential of the industry and provide level playing field for all stakeholders and to protect their investments”, he said emphatically.

He therefore assured that the council will continue to strive to provide a level playing field for all operators with a view to maximally utilising the potential of the shipping industry to the benefit of the Nigerian people and the economy.