NPPM: Shippers Council, NPA, others collaborate for joint inspection of ships

Shippers Council says INCOTERMS will mitigate trade dispute, litigation
Written by Maritime First

…As Hassan Bello says Complaints of International Shipping community can’t be ignored again!***

In furtherance of the laudable goals of the Nigerian Ports Process Manual, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and other government agencies on Thursday agreed on collaboration and joint inspection of vessels, calling on Nigeria.

The initiative, according to sources, was at the insistence of the Nigerian Shippers Council, which insisted that the complaints by the international community, against separate boarding and inspection and their attendant delays and cost, could no longer be ignored.

The other government agencies include Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Port Health and the Department of State Security Service (DSS).

Presiding over a meeting of the agencies, the Executive Secretary of NSC, Mr Hassan Bello, noted that joint boarding of vessels was the acceptable international best practice around the world.

NPA Managing Director, Hadiza Bala Usman

According to him, the European Union and the entire global shipping community have complained incessantly on the delays at Nigerian ports which also lead to economic consequences on the nation.

“Shipping is time-bound and we face serious competition from other ports in the region. Why should Nigeria have 22 days ship turnaround time when our neighbours achieve it in 7 days?

“I am happy with the collaboration and commitment of all the government agencies.

Also read:  NSC: When Hassan Bello visits Buba Marwa in Abuja

“This development,  coupled with the impending disappearance of traffic gridlock, will see shipping play its significant role in Nigeria’s economic development,” he said.

Also, the General Manager, Public Private Partnerships (PPP), Mrs Eniola Williams, who represented NPA’s Managing Director, assured that there would be sanctions for agencies that  fail to comply with the new Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for inspecting vessels.

“Each agency has its law with sanctions for offenders and the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, at the launch of Nigerian Port Process Manual (NPPM), emphasised the need to invoke sanctions.

“The people who come in via these ships are making first contact with Nigeria through that joint inspection and it is good we display integrity and take it seriously,” she said.

She noted that NPA desired to become the leading port in Africa, adding that to become a reality, there was need to ensure that processes are timely, efficient and free from corruption.

“NPA is taking this very seriously and we are working with other agencies and on the issue of joint boarding; this refers to people who represent Nigeria onboard ships from other nations,” she said.

Speaking on behalf of Customs, the Deputy Controller, Administration, Idiroko Border, Dera Nnadi said that integrity had to be prioritised in the joint exercise.

According to Nnadi,  each agency should provide its mandate with respect to onboard ship inspection.

Nnadi suggested that the mandate of various government agencies on ship inspection should be available for the NPPM team and they should be measured with the reports from ship captains after inspections.

The top Customs officer also harped on the need for the joint team to engage shipping lines to prioritise integrity, noting that some shipping companies have adopted integrity as their watchword.

Consequently, an agreement would now be fine-tuned, that would ensure that, all agencies involved in inspecting ships would go onboard together to carry out their respective inspection as contained in their Acts.

The event also featured the inauguration of a Port Standing Task Team to enforce compliance with the SOPs and Nigerian Port Process Manual (NPPM) to make the maritime sector more efficient and competitive.


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