EXECUTIVE Secretary/CEO of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hassan Bello, has said that a well structured freight forwarding practice will checkmate quarks and decongest the industry.
He lamented the proliferation of quacks and lack of professionalism in the freight forwarding industry, saying that the country needs only a few freight forwarders that are well capitalized.
Bello, who stated this while speaking with journalists in Abuja last week, said the business of freight forwarding must be restructured with a view to streamlining both the operators and the standard of services.
He stated, “Working with freight forwarders has exposed us to very many important things. They are vital to ports operations, also truckers. But freight forwarding must be professionalized and consolidated.
“There are so many people in freight forwarding. One container can have up to 20 people following it. So we have to reform that very important profession. ‘‘Many of them are focused but we have told them that they must restructure. You must reform or you are shipped out.
‘‘There must be consolidation. They have to come together. We need like 10 freight forwarders and they must have adequate capital,” he said. Recall that the Federal Government established the Council for Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) to regulate and sanitise freight forwarding practice and regulate freight forwarders.
The Council is charged with, amongst other responsibilities, regulating and controlling the practice of freight forwarding in Nigeria, and promoting the highest standards of competence, practice and conduct among operators. Reacting to the development, immediate past President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA, Prince Olayiwola Shittu, said that the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, do not license individuals but corporate organizations as freight forwarders.
The method of individuals going to register with the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria, CRFFN, was not the best way to go.
He said: “To restructure the freight forwarding industry to have only ten firms practicing is not practicable, it’s like telling me that we need only 100 lawyers to handle all the cases in Nigeria.
“The solution to discourage people from parading themselves in the ports as agents in the name of freight forwarder is that if you do not work in a company that is licensed by the Nigeria Customs, you cannot be a freight forwarder.
“If that is applied, it will resolve the problem because ninety percent of the people roaming about in the port in name CRFFN are not freight forwarders because Customs do not license individuals”