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Collection of Practicing Fees at Ports May Wait Till ANLCA Holds NEC Meeting

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After successfully dashing the hope of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) and other associations in the collecting of practicing fees at the Seme Border Station, the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) said Thursday that the issue will be decided by its National Executive Council (NEC) Meeting soon.

Officials of ANLCA had Wednesday mobilized its members and allegedly thugs to stop the collection of practicing fees from freight forwarders at the Seme Border Station about three hours after the exercise had commenced.

President of ANLCA, Prince Olayiwora Shittu told SHIPPING DAY Thursday that a Committee made up of the former President of the association, Sir Ernest Elochukwu, the National Publicity Secretary of ANLCA, Kayode Farinto and others has been set up to come up with a recommendation on the issue.

Shittu gave an indication that the Committee would report to the NEC which will take final decision on the matter.

The ANLCA President said that the matter has gone beyond his personal decision alone. But it appeared that Shittu is not happy about the sharing arrangement on the collection of the practicing fees.

Farinto who was contacted yesterday said the association will issue a statement on the matter today.
Incidentally, it is not clear when ANLCA would hold its NEC meeting to decide on the issue, and how long the Elochukwu Committee was given to carry out its assignment.
The position of ANLCA clashes with that of the leadership of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) who appears to be in agreement with the arrangement so far.

When contacted, President of NAGAFF, Dr. Eugene Nweke said leaders of the association were still holding a meeting on the issue.

CRFFN Registrar, Sir Mike Jukwe when contacted simply replied in a text message that the Council will issue a statement on the matter.

Eye witness account told SHIPPING DAY that the collection of the fees had commenced in Seme when the ANLCA Chairman in Seme , Mr. Patrick Omaja, mobilized thugs to stop the exercise.

Chairman, Seme chapter of NAGAFF, Ekene Ajunwa told newsmen that the thugs attacked the CRFFN Task Force involved in the collection, adding that their Coaster bus was damaged.

It was gathered that both CRFFN officials and NAGAFF members were injured during the fracas.

It was also gathered that the CRFFN Deputy Registrar Enforcement was taken hostage but rescued by members of NAGAFF led by the Chairman in Seme.
CRFFN had first set June 11 for the collection but later shifted it to June 25 in Lagos ports.
What is not clear is whether different dates were set for each of the ports and border station that led to the Seme Border take off Wednesday.

Under the sharing formula on the practicing fee, CRFFN would take 60 percent and five per cent for other stakeholders, while all the five associations would get 35 percent of what is to be collected.

The approval for the collection of the fees was delayed due to disagreement between the leaders of the agents associations and the CRFFN management.

Under the collection arrangement, every 20ft container being cleared at the port will pay N1,000 while a 40ft container will pay N2,000. Similarly, every car will pay N500; N1,000 for trucks and N30 per ton for bulk cargoes.

It is believed that the collection of the practicing fee was the only hope for CRFFN and the various associations to finance their various programmes that have suffered as a result of lack of funds.

Shipping Day

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WAIVER CESSATION: Igbokwe urges NIMASA to evolve stronger collaboration with Ships owners

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…Stresses the need for timely disbursement of N44.6billion CVFF***

Highly revered Nigerian Maritime Lawyer, and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mike Igbokwe has urged the Nigeria Maritime Administration and safety Agency (NIMASA) to partner with ship owners and relevant association in the industry to evolving a more vibrant merchant shipping and cabotage trade regime.

Igbokwe gave the counsel during his paper presentation at the just concluded two-day stakeholders’ meeting on Cabotage waiver restrictions, organized by NIMASA.

“NIMASA and shipowners should develop merchant shipping including cabotage trade. A good start is to partner with the relevant associations in this field, such as the Nigeria Indigenous Shipowners Association (NISA), Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Oil Trade Group & Maritime Trade Group of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).

“A cursory look at their vision, mission and objectives, show that they are willing to improve the maritime sector, not just for their members but for stakeholders in the maritime economy and the country”.

Adding that it is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a through briefing and regular consultation with ships owners, in other to have insight on the challenges facing the ship owners.

“It is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a thorough briefing and regular consultations with shipowners, to receive insight on the challenges they face, and how the Agency can assist in solving them and encouraging them to invest and participate in the maritime sector, for its development. 

“NIMASA should see them as partners in progress because, if they do not invest in buying ships and registering them in Nigeria, there would be no Nigerian-owned ships in its Register and NIMASA would be unable to discharge its main objective.

The Maritime lawyer also urged NIMASA  to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF)that currently stands at about N44.6 billion.

“Lest it be forgotten, what is on the lips of almost every shipowner, is the need to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (the CVFF’), which was established by the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act, 2003. It was established to promote the development of indigenous ship acquisition capacity, by providing financial assistance to Nigerian citizens and shipping companies wholly owned by Nigerian operating in the domestic coastal shipping, to purchase and maintain vessels and build shipping capacity. 

“Research shows that this fund has grown to about N44.6billion; and that due to its non-disbursement, financial institutions have repossessed some vessels, resulting in a 43% reduction of the number of operational indigenous shipping companies in Nigeria, in the past few years. 

“Without beating around the bush, to promote indigenous maritime development, prompt action must be taken by NIMASA to commence the disbursement of this Fund to qualified shipowners pursuant to the extant Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (“CVFF”) Regulations.

Mike Igbokwe (SAN)

“Indeed, as part of its statutory functions, NIMASA is to enforce and administer the provisions of the Cabotage Act 2003 and develop and implement policies and programmes which will facilitate the growth of local capacity in ownership, manning and construction of ships and other maritime infrastructure. Disbursing the CVFF is one of the ways NIMASA can fulfill this mandate.

“To assist in this task, there must be collaboration between NIMASA, financial institutions, the Minister of Transportation, as contained in the CVFF Regulations that are yet to be implemented”, the legal guru highlighted further. 

He urged the agency to create the right environment for its stakeholders to build on and engender the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders.

“Lastly, which is the main reason why we are all here, cessation of ministerial waivers on some cabotage requirements, which I believe is worth applause in favour of NIMASA. 

“This is because it appears that the readiness to obtain/grant waivers had made some of the vessels and their owners engaged in cabotage trade, to become complacent and indifferent in quickly ensuring that they updated their capacities, so as not to require the waivers. 

“The cessation of waivers is a way of forcing the relevant stakeholders of the maritime sector, to find workable solutions within, for maritime development and fill the gaps in the local capacities in 100% Nigerian crewing, ship ownership, and ship building, that had necessitated the existence of the waivers since about 15 years ago, when the Cabotage Act came into being. 

“However, NIMASA must ensure that the right environment is provided for its stakeholders to build and possess the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders. Or better still, that they are solved within the next 5 years of its intention to stop granting waivers”, he further explained. 

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Breaking News: The Funeral Rites of Matriarch C. Ogbeifun is Live

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The Burial Ceremony of Engr. Greg Ogbeifun’s mother is live. Watch on the website: www.maritimefirstnewspaper.com and on Youtube: Maritimefirst Newspaper.

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Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured

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…As Valles Steamship Orders 112,000 dwt Tanker from South Korea***

A wind farm supply vessel and a cargo ship collided in the Baltic Sea on Tuesday leaving 15 injured.

The Cyprus-flagged 80-meter general cargo ship Raba collided with Denmark-flagged 31-meter wind farm supply vessel World Bora near Rügen Island, about three nautical miles off the coast of Hamburg. 

Many of those injured were service engineers on the wind farm vessel, and 10 were seriously hurt. 

They were headed to Iberdrola’s 350MW Wikinger wind farm. Nine of the people on board the World Bora were employees of Siemens Gamesa, two were employees of Iberdrola and four were crew.

The cause of the incident is not yet known, and no pollution has been reported.

After the collision, the two ships were able to proceed to Rügen under their own power, and the injured were then taken to hospital. 

Lifeboat crews from the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service tended to them prior to their transport to hospital via ambulance and helicopter.

“Iberdrola wishes to thank the rescue services for their diligence and professionalism,” the company said in a statement.

In the meantime, the Hong Kong-based shipowner Valles Steamship has ordered a new 112,000 dwt crude oil tanker from South Korea’s Sumitomo Heavy Industries Marine & Engineering.

Sumitomo is to deliver the Aframax to Valles Steamship by the end of 2020, according to data provided by Asiasis.

The newbuild Aframax will join seven other Aframaxes in Valles Steamship’s fleet. Other ships operated by the company include Panamax bulkers and medium and long range product tankers.

The company’s most-recently delivered unit is the 114,426 dwt Aframax tanker Seagalaxy. The naming and delivery of the tanker took place in February 2019, at Namura Shipbuilding’s yard in Japan.

Maritime Executive with additional report from World Maritime News

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