About 50 per cent expired containers flood Nigerian ports- –Freight Forwarders
—blame weak regulatory environment
Freight Forwarders plying their trade at the Nigerian ports have claimed that about 45 to 50 percent of containers used to bring in exports into the country are expired.
They lamented that some of these containers are so bad that they are patched by the side to import items into the country, warning that this has a dire consequence, especially if the imported items are consumables
It could be recalled that the life cycle of container range between 15 to 20 years but the freighters alleged that most of the containers used by foreign freight forwarders for shipment of goods into the country have exceeded the age limit
Lending credence to this disturbing trend, the Tincan chapter chairman of the Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON), Comrade Godfrey Nwosu, expressed worry that such expired containers can do a lot of harm to the goods they are used to converge, especially if they are consumables or health products.
He observed that most of the freight forwarders in the countries of origin are mostly responsible for this anomaly.
The freight forwarder also blamed the trend on the fact that the older the container, the cheaper the cost of rent which could make shippers opt for them.
“45 percent, if not 50 percent, of the containers used for shipping goods into this country is expired.
“Do you know or are you aware that each container has a stainless plate that carries the identity of the container?”
“Most Shippers didn’t know who do vehicular shipment because they are not in the countries where shipments are made into the country.
“Most times, they just tell their Shippers they need 40 feet container to ship goods into the country, they will do the booking and lift the box to his yard and push them here”
“Most at times, the owners of these goods don’t have the final answer to evaluate or know the kind of box they use in carrying their shipments.
“The forwarders in the country of origin short-change them. The older the container, the cheaper the rate of renting it”
“The type of cargo sometimes determines the kind of container to use. For instance, there are containers that come with pallets and the suppliers of the pallets are different from the makers of the containers.
Nwosu lamented the lack of regulation on containers used to import goods into the country even as he maintained that it has dire consequences on the items and the consumers.
“There is no regulating standard for containers used for shipping
“Using an expired container is contagious for food items, medicaments because if the containers are expired, the wooden floors are also expired. If you use such containers with expired wooden floors for fragile or sensitive goods, the chemicals may contaminate them”
“You don’t just import health equipment with any container, it requires that the standards be maintained to avoid being contaminated.
Speaking in the same vein, Onome Monije, Public Relations Officer of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) said that the development could cause damage to items contained in them.
She added that there is not always time for the agents to forward their complaints because of fear of demurrage accumulation.
“When you have a rusted container and there are many cars inside the container and they touch the wall, it will definitely affect the cars.
“Most times, we are running to avoid demurrage, we tend not to give much attention to such cases because if you write to shipping companies, it will take time for them to reply to you.”
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NIMASA collaborates with NCC to regulate submarine cable operation for enhanced navigational safety on Nigerian waters
The eyewitness reporter
Apparently alarmed by the indiscriminate laying of communication cables and pipelines underneath the Nigerian waters by telecommunications operators and other allied professionals which has the potential of harming the safe navigation of ships, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, (NIMASA) has engaged the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in a strategic discussion to forge a formidable synergy with other relevant stakeholders with a view to developing a regulatory framework to provide operational guidelines for submarine Cable and Pipeline Operators in Nigeria.
Officials of both organs of Government in Lagos reached this agreement at a pre Audit meeting on submarine cable regulation.
The Director General of NIMASA Dr. Bashir Jamoh, who chaired the meeting, which also had the Director General of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) Mr. Dasuki Arabi in attendance, noted that the Agency is committed to the Ease of Doing Business while implementing International Conventions which Nigeria has ratified and domesticated.
He noted that with Nigeria now a destination for global communication players, the time has come to prevent unregulated underwater cable laying, which might become hazardous to shipping.
According to him, “It is worthy to note that marine cable laying has been ongoing for over two decades in Nigerian waters.
“Our focus is to ensure the safety of navigation of shipping in Nigerian waters with all these underwater cables being laid.
“NIMASA is actually developing the guidelines to regulate submarine cable operators in line with the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, UNCLOS; which we have ratified and NIMASA is the Agency of Government in Nigeria responsible for its implementation.
“Collaboration is a key component of ease of doing business in the best interest of the country and we will work closely with the NCC to achieve this”.
On his part, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, who was represented by the Director, Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement, Efosa Idehen, noted that the stakeholders’ dialogue strategy adopted by NIMASA in developing the guidelines would ensure a win-win situation, urging NIMASA management to include the Ministry of Justice, a request NIMASA DG immediately granted.
Also speaking at the meeting was the Director General of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms Mr. Dasuki Arabi, who commended NIMASA and NCC for adopting effective Inter-Agency collaboration to avert a potential challenge for the country in the future.
NIMASA had notified submarine and cable operators in Nigeria of a soon-to-be-implemented regulatory guideline for submarine cables and pipelines in Nigeria, in line with the provisions of UNCLOS.
NIMASA and the NCC agreed to identify and resolve areas of likely regulatory overlaps, ensuring a regulatory framework based on consultation to engender the attainment of Nigeria’s digital economy transformation.
Officials of the Federal Ministry of Environment and representatives of Submarine Cable operators in Nigeria were also at the meeting.
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