Hassan Bello, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council

Terminal operators have been directed to register with the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) for accurate measurement of their performance and investments, The Nation has learnt.

The agency, it was gathered, has also deployed over 30 of its officers to monitor terminal operators and shipping firms to ensure sanity in the ports system.

NSC Executive Secretary Hassan Bello told The Nation that operators must support the Council by allowing its officers free access into their terminals and is releasing information to them.

He said, henceforth, terminal operators must register with the body, adding that this was part of the port concession agreement signed by operators.

“By the power conferred on us, terminal operators have to give us unfettered access to their premises so that we would have supervisory ability to monitor and coordinate any activity within the terms of our instruction from the Federal Government.

“We will come to you and enter tour terminals. We are not going to sit at our table in the office and carry out this important responsibility; from now on, you will have Shippers Council staff coming around. The idea is not only to supervise your operations, but to also deliver service to you. If you have any complaints, you should tell us and we will intervene.

“We are also very interested in disclosure; you will have to register with the Shippers’ Council. It is there in the concession agreement; you have to give us certain information and this is also specified, this is what we will use to measure the efficiency of the terminal operator,” Bello said.

Bello urged the operators to be more efficient in cargo handling.

“Without the Shippers’ Council, concessionaires will not be able to function,” he said.

Bello warned operators against bad practices, such as rent-seeking, unnecessary delay of cargoes and charges, among others.

“They must not increase their charges without consultation with the Nigerian Shippers’ Council. We know the charges are not static, sometimes they go up and sometimes they come down, but we are concerned with the quality of
service they render,” Bello said.

Meanwhile, stakeholders have called on the government to empower the Council and give the presidential nod for its new status.

At a forum organized by the agency in Kaduna, the Director, Monitoring Department of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Ibrahim Kashim, said the Council needed to be empowered.

Also, the Director, Legal Drafting Department, Federal Ministry of Justice, Alhaji Hamzat Alhassan Tahir, said the ministry was looking at powers to enable the Shippers’ Council to act as an economic regulator. –The Nation