Collection of container deposit by shipping companies is misnomer – Bello

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

Barrister Hassan Bello, Executive Secretary/CEO, Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), has described the collection of container deposit by shipping companies as a misnomer, saying efforts were at advance stage to remove it from the invoices generated by shipping lines operating in the country.

Bello stated this during an interaction session with Comrade John Oforbike, Zonal Coordinator and other leaders of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA, Western Zone) who visited him in Lagos last week.

Bello, who was responding to various challenges raised by the customs agents militating against their business, said the single window will not only ensure the facilitation of trade, reduce costs of doing business, but will ultimately eliminate touting in the ports system.

NSC boss rued the leadership crisis in ANLCA and called on the customs agents come for cargo examinations on Saturdays and Sundays to avoid accruement of demurrages and storage charges by terminals and shipping companies.

‘’Container deposit is a misnomer the world over; efforts are in top gear to remove it from the invoices generated by the shipping companies. A new regime is already being developed to assuage the contentions of the importers and clearing agents. Discussions are at an advanced stage and soon, all will be well, in respect of the container deposit and cleaning charges,’’ said Bello.

Barr Hassan Bello informed that a proposal for the linking of all ports by rail has received a favorable response from the Federal Government. According to him, the dwell time of consignments in the ports remain sixteen days as against the benchmark dwell time for cargoes in the West African sub-region is just four days, ‘’comparatively, this shows that Nigeria still lags behind other West African nations’ minimum standards,’’ said Bello.

On the crisis in ANLCA, Barr Bello said that a united ANLCA would have campaigned alongside the Council to ensure that the unacceptable dwell time of cargoes is in line with internationally acceptable standards. He charged the visitors to put their house in order.

Enlightening the visitors on the benefit of stakeholders’ registration, the NSC boss maintained that the registration of especially the customs agents is being put in place to capture the number and qualifications of those involved in the cargo processes to ensure that sanity is brought to bear on the cargo clearing processes.

According to the Executive Secretary, issues involving interference with cargo clearance by the Police has been drastically reduced towards complete elimination and other stakeholders in the habit of such interferences, especially Plant Quarantine, Standards Organisation of Nigeria, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control etc were being sensitized with a view to streamlining their operations to facilitate trade in the industry.

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