Mr. Hassan Bello, Executive Secretary/CEO of Nigerian Shippers Council, has envisaged a reduction of shipping tariffs and port charges between 30 and 35 percent in the first quarter of 2019.
Bello noted that a Memorandum of Understanding would soon be signed with shipping companies and other service providers in the nation’s seaport sector to bring down costs of doing business in the sector.
Bello added that the Council had entered into discussion with truck owners on cost of freighting containers and other cargo from ports to other parts of the country.
Bello disclosed this at an enlightenment seminar on Ethics and Integrity in Shipping Trade in Lagos last week, saying that all these were geared towards making Nigerian ports friendly and competitive with other West African ports as 80 percent of the cargo destined for West Africa come to Nigeria.
‘’The Nigerian Shippers Council is involving in standardising tariffs and charges. I am envisaging 30-35 percent reduction in port charges. By first quarter of 2019 a MoU will be signed with shipping companies and other service providers in the ports.
‘’We are also discussing with truckers on reduction of cost of transporting cargo from ports to other parts of the country. We need to be transparent as there are international standards which we must comply with. If the port system is automated, there will be no need for shady deals,’’ stated Bello.
To further boost transportation of cargo and reduce cost, Bello disclosed that the Council had acquired 24 railway wagons to transport containers to inland dry ports, saying the wagons would commence operation by April 16, 2019.
‘’We have acquired 24 railway wagons and we are discussion with the Nigerian Railways Corporation to transport cargo to inland containers depots. This will bring down cost of freight. It will be cheaper; and by 16 of April, first cargo will be transported by the wagons,’’ noted Bello.
While praising the efforts of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) in the fight against importation of sub-standard goods into the country, Bello said ‘’prior to the appointment of the Nigerian Shippers Council as the port economic regulator, the council defended the interest of Nigerian shippers of which several successes were recorded. With the added responsibility, the council has evolved new strategies whereby standardised services, tariffs, rates and charges are being put in place with attendant optimal benefits to providers and consumers of port services.’’