By Gboyega Oni
The Nigerian Shippers Council has been chastised by Dr. Boniface Aniebobam, founder of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) for failure to negotiate the container deposit and arrest of heads of the shipping companies who are found of delaying refund of the deposit as at when due which, he said, is criminal.
While attributing the continued collection of the container deposit to the failure of Nigeria to own vessels that can fly her national flag, Aniebonam noted that Nigeria deserves what it gets from the shipping companies, saying that if Nigeria has had national vessels such problem would not have surfaced.
Aniebonam, a leading freight forwarder, chastised the Council on Thursday April 19, 2018 at a media round-table organised by the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria (MARAN) at Apapa, Lagos. He maintained that the container deposit as it presently is has to be negotiated and is a criminal act for shipping companies to collect and delay to refund importers.
Pointing out that there should be regulation in place, the NAGAFF founder charged the Nigerian Shippers Council to negotiate with shipping companies and, in collaboration with the Nigeria Police, arrest and prosecute defaulting shipping company heads in the appropriate law court.
According to him, ‘we deserve what we get since we do not have our own national vessels that can fly our flag. If we do not have, there must be a regulation in place. The container deposit needs to be negotiated and failure to refund is criminal. Nigerian Shippers Council ought to negotiate the container deposit with shipping companies and collaborate with the Police to arrest defaulting companies and prosecute them in the appropriate court.’
Speaking further, Aniebobam, who congratulated MARAN on its recent election, said that the port reforms have not produced the desired result as a lot of things have gone wrong in the port since the concession in 2006.
While appreciating efficiency in certain areas, he said the cost of cargo operations is noncompetitive and keeps soaring daily, adding that cargo now spend more time in the terminal and continue to accrue more demurrage.
On the Ease of Doing Business, he said the policy has not added any value to the system and may not achieve anything. He maintained that what the industry needs to do is the building of leadership who can do things as they should be done and obey laws.
He called for a presidential retreat of all stakeholders to address various problems which have become a daunting task for the industry to surmount.