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

The Nigerian Shippers Council, the apex economic regulator for the nation’s seaports in Lagos Thursday, held the send edition of its annual stakeholders’ appreciation night, saying that synergy among the various operators would address the myriads of challenges currently confronting the industry.

Executive Secretary/CEO of the council, Mr. Hassan Bello, while giving a welcome speech, said there was urgent need for every segment of the industry whether public or private sector to cooperate and collaborate with one another in the overall interest of Nigeria’s economy.

According to him, as a commercial regulator, the council is placed in a vantage position to look at issues holistically, which accounts for why it relates with all the operators comprising the terminal operators, shipping companies and their agents, freight forwarders, consolidators and insurance companies, among several others.

He pledged 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.

“There is need for synergy among the operators including the government agencies and that is part of the reason why we came up with this stakeholders’ appreciation night in line with our policy of continuous stakeholders’ engagement.

“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.

The NSC-boss also noted that the council is desirous of being in touch with every segment of the industry, which reinforces the urgent need for synergy among all.

Bell told stakeholders at the well attended event that apart from being a regulator, the council is also a trade facilitator, which accounts for why it has partnerships with other government agencies including the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN, Nigeria Customs Service and the Federal Road Safety Corps FRSC, with which it recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding MoU on the strict enforcement of traffic regulations.

He therefore enjoined the stakeholders to cooperate with the council and other relevant government agencies in the industry in their quest to install a regime of integrated transport system in the industry, arguing that the current chaotic traffic situation especially in Apapa, which houses the nation’s two biggest seaports, the Lagos Ports Complex and Tin Can Island Ports Complex, does not make for the efficiency of the ports in which everyone loses.

Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, who was represented by the Director Maritime Services in the Ministry, Alhaji Sani Umar Galadanchi, while speaking at the event, commended the council for fostering cohesion among the stakeholders, which he argued is key to achieving the Federal Government economic objectives as they relate to the shipping industry.

According to him, the stakeholders’ engagement by the council remains a positive initiative by the council, which will bring about mutual respect in the mediatory role played by the council as an economic regulator.

The Minister, who pledged the commitment of the Federal Ministry of Transport to always incentivise the private sector operators, however charged them to channel their complaints and grievances if any to the appropriate agencies rather than apply unconventional means to address such issues,.

Also in attendance at the event was the Director General, Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce, Mrs. Joyce Akpata, Assistant Inspector General of Police AIG in charge of Marine Command of the Nigeria Police, Alikali Baba Usman representatives of shipping companies, terminal operators, banks, shipping agents, insurance companies and truck operators, among several others.

A highpoint of the event was the presentation of awards to shipping agencies in Warri, Calabar, Lagos and Port Harcourt comprising CMA CGM, Blue Seas Maritime Limited, Menon Ports Nigeria limited, Fast Focus Services Limited and Maersk Nigeria Limited as outstanding shipping agencies.

Also, letters of commendation were presented to terminal operators such as AP Moller Apapa Limited, West African Container Terminal Limited Onne, Integrated Logistic Services Limited INTELS, Blue Star Shipping and National Plants Quarantine Limited as well as Mrs. Margaret Oraekwusi for promoting commercial fishing trade in the country, among others.