After twenty six years of meritorious service in the oil & gas sector with the Chrome Group, climbing high to the enviable post of Operations Manager, he resigned voluntarily to set up his own business concern, Heedbern Shipping Limited.
Kayode Jejeloye can be counted in the emerging class of modern customs agents and freight forwarders – suave, educated, organized, meticulous and clearheaded.
“After my HND, I did a course in Port Administration at the University of Lagos and also attended different courses in freight forwarding all over the world. I like education, wherever the opportunity pops up I am there to learn, because I like to be a bit different from others”, explained Jejeloye who is a fellow of British Forwarding Association (BIFA).
“Cumulatively, I’ve been in this logistics job for well over thirty years, I started at Warri Refinery & Petrochemical before moving over to Chrome Group”, he noted.
Jejeloye bared his mind about developments in the industry some of which he saw as salutary and those he deemed condemnable.
Jejeloye commended the Nigeria Customs Service for its exemplary leadership roles in the sector. He described them as trail blazers whom everybody has to catch up with.
“A lot of changes have come up especially in the Nigeria Customs Service. They are better in terms of technology, IT, their personnel are more educated, more skillful, staff who have been trained home and abroad on the nitty-gritty of the modern customs tariff & cargo trade. We are very proud of them”, he noted.
“In this industry the Customs are the regulators, the coach whom we follow and our people, licensed customs agents have been doing a catch up, if you don’t, you are out dry. Overall, our people are up to date as far as the customs modern trade technicalities are concerned”, observed Jejeloye.
“For instance, you get your SONCAP done through online processes, same with virtually all aspects of the trade. I believe we are commendably up to world standards”.
Jejeloye, however, disabused the conception that customs generates duties to government coffers only through imports which makes the government revenue target a tall order with the backlash slammed on customs agents. “Customs and agents can both generate duties and wealth from export. Afterall, Nigeria was originally a major agric export country with cocoa, timbre, palm oil, groundnut oil being major export produce fetching Nigeria billions of pounds. “We must tap the potentials in our agriculture to boost our economy and create employment and wealth”, he averred.
Jejeloye observed that, invariably, licensed customs agents through their organized union, the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) become the fulcrum on which the freight forwarding sector gravitates.
“Customs agents or brokers are the facilitations of trade. ANLCA therefore needs to play a role in policy making in the maritime and aviation industry, in customs policy decision making and execution. “Customs mainly are trained to collect revenue, the bureaucrats make policies. ANLCA should stand in the gap between the government and the industry. The National Assembly would be better served if they engaged ANLCA in their policy making processes. After all, the customs agents facilitate trade by interfacing with virtually all stakeholders in the logistics chain including NPA, NIMASA, SON, NAFDAC, Port Health, Quarantine, importers, exporters and others”, he noted.
Jejeloye who is an active member of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) berated port concessionaires for what he described as greed and lack of patriotism by their refusal to transfer container to off dock terminals even in the face of a crippling avalanche of container cargo and embarrassing slow vessel turn-around time. “The Port terminal operators don’t have enough cargo handlers while a lot of vessels come to them yet they refused to transfer containers to the many redundant container bonded terminals located a few kilometers away from the ports.
“You’ll recall that NPA used to stem vessels to bonded terminals frequently, but these port concessioners have refused to do that. I remember that it was the policy of the federal government which the Nigerian Shippers Council helped propagate to encourage the use of off dock ICD in distant places like Jos, Aba, Ibadan but APMT wouldn’t give them containers and nobody did nothing about it”, Jejeloye fumed.
Jejeloye submitted that the federal government will find lasting solutions to the myriad of problems that bedevil the port industry if and only when they resort to opening a down to earth channel of communication with the real port stakeholder such as ANLCA & NAGAFF and maritime workers union. “If government deals with customs agents they will know the truth and there will be solutions. But they prefer to work with the terminals operators who are the problems”, he submitted.