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Freight Monitor

Port congestion looms 

Ibrahim Tanko
—–as freight Forwarders threaten to go on strike over extortions by shipping companies
Eyewitness
Aggrieved freight forwarders, who are plying their trade at the Lagos ports, have served a notice of withdrawal of their services to protest what they described as unbridled and barefaced extortions and high-handedness by the shipping companies.
In the notice of service withdrawal signed by Alhaji Tanko Ibrahim, the National Coordinator,  100 percent Compliance team of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), the Customs brokers complained of a litany of operational breaches and extortionist behaviors of the shipping companies.
These include depletion of container deposit refunds, undue debits on equipment detention which brings the Customs brokers into a collision course with their transporters and principals.
” The shipping companies engage in unnecessary extortions of our transporters up to N150, 000 before dropping empty containers which is then passed back to us before returning our container cards.
” We are also being subjected to incessant network issues which lead to inability to raise invoices and transmit TDOs to which we lose not less than N10million per day.
“The shipping companies also engage in deceitful demand of opening of importer account/extortions before releasing invoice.
“We lose N50 million daily to the wilful transfer of containers against the wish, consent or approval of consignees.
“We are also being subjected to illegal transfer charges against the directives of the Nigerian Shippers’Council.
“As a result of their negligence or lack of capacity, the shipping companies foist on us undue equipment detention charges ranging from N200,000 per 1× 40ft and N100,000 per 1×20ft multiplied by 1000 containers”
The freight forwarders have therefore given the shipping companies a two-week ultimatum to address their grievances or face the pains of service disruption.
“Against this background, we wish to notify you that from October 25th,2021 to November 10th, 2021, if these issues raised above are not properly addressed, we will withdraw our services” the customs brokers declared in their letter which they addressed to all the shipping companies and copied to all the government agencies, security agencies, and others stakeholders.
In an ominous voice, the angry freight forwarders warned the predominantly foreign shipping companies not to open their offices at the end of the two-week ultimatum if they fail to heed their demands and address their complaints.
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Freight Monitor

My comments on anti-trade practices of some freight forwarders misconstrued—-Tanko

Tanko Ibrahim
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Freight Monitor

CRFFN member tackles Tanko over claims that freight forwarders are corrupt

Princess Chi Ezeh, NAGAFF Chieftain
—- says claims are false, blackmail, self-serving
Eyewitness reporter
Two frontline members of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) and incidentally members of the fourth governing board of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding Practice in Nigeria (CRFFN), Princess Chi Ezeh and Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko, have disagreed over the conduct and professional integrity of freight Nigerian forwarders.
While Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko believed that freight forwarders, of which he is one of their stocks, are corrupt and wilfully connive with Customs officers to circumvent the new Vehicles Identification Number (VIN) valuation policy in order to cheat the federal government of its revenue, Princess Chi Ezeh holds contrary views, saying freight forwarding is an ethical profession which is an integral part of value chains in the transport industry.
Recall that Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko had declared that freight forwarders evade customs duties with the collaboration of corrupt customs officers through the manipulation of the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR), stating that “most freight forwarders have started cutting corners by conniving with valuation officers and releasing officers to get the ex-factory price as value payable on used vehicles.”
Princess Ezeh, the only female member on the fourth governing board of the CRFFN,  however, took a swipe at Alhaji Tanko, the National Coordinator of NAGAFF’s Compliance team, over his comments, saying they were self-serving, meant to gain cheap publicity and blackmail government agencies.
She said that the fourth CRFFN board, of which the two contending NAGAFF members are part, is concerned about effectively regulating freight forwarding in a bid to stop the practice of using false statements to gain popularity or blackmail government agencies.
“In my professional opinion, condemning freight forwarders because of PAAR is wrong because PAAR isn’t the final document for clearing cargoes.
“It is advisory as the cargoes and the accompanying declarations are further subjected to either physical or documentary checks at the ports.
“CRFFN is concerned about correcting this wrong perception about freight forwarders,” she said.

According to Chi Ezeh, PAAR as it is, is a function of valuation principles based on general agreement on Trade and Tariffs, quality and quantity of the items, and even the application of rules of origin.

She condemned what she described as the de-marketing efforts of Alhaji Tanko which she believed negatively affect the image of the freight forwarding profession in particular and the maritime industry in general in the eye of the international community.
She also condemned the act that she described as unpatriotic and capable of undermining  Nigeria’s Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs).

Chi Ezeh further disclosed that the industry practitioners are professionals for whom such a blanket label of unethical conduct is not only false but unpatriotic.

She said the cargo clearing system is a chain involving many agencies, all of whom ensure that best practices are applied in cargo handling towards Customs revenue generation and national security.

Chi Ezeh who is also the Vice President in-charge of seaports at the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), stressed that every ex-factory price given in valuation is always approved by the Customs Area Controller while the physical examination is conducted for vehicle declarations by Customs and all other approved government agencies in the ports.

She posited that it is not possible for all the agencies involved in cargo clearance to standby and allow the false allegations raised in the publication.

“Freight forwarding is an ethical profession where the practitioners have high-level integrity.

“Like the profession of doctors, accountants, lawyers, among others; there are ethics, principles, and standards.
“I totally disagree with the insinuation that all freight forwarders are corrupt.
“We are an integral part of the national economy who contribute greatly to the economic and physical security of the nation through the huge revenue profile announced by customs annually.”

“The truth is that these cargoes are being examined. So, does this mean that everyone in the entire supply chain is corrupt?

“If Customs is being accused of corruption in connivance with freight forwarders, how about the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and other agencies because examination of cargoes isn’t done by Customs alone.
“So, this accusation is wrong and demarkets freight forwarding as well as the entire players in the industry,” Chi Ezeh said.
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Freight Monitor

Stakeholder calls out Amaechi to account for millions of Naira in remittances made by freight forwarders under CRFFN.

Segun Musa
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