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Exclusive! Shipping companies shun peace meeting with freight forwarders

Ibrahim Tanko
—keeps Shippers Council, CRFFN guessing
Eyewitness reporter
In their characteristic but an unabashed display of arrogance and undisguised impunity, the shipping companies in Nigeria have shunned the peace meeting convened by the Council for the  Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) between them and the freight forwarders.
Following the threat of strike action by the freight forwarders to protest what they called extortion and high-handedness of the shipping service providers, the leadership of the CRFFN has convened a peace meeting between the two warring parties in a bid to mediate in the feud and starve off possible service disruption.
The meeting, which was held at the Rockview Hotels, Apapa this Friday, had in attendance all the invited stakeholders which included Nigerian Shippers Council, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), AIG Maritime Police, freight forwarders, Presidents, and Secretaries of the accredited associations of freight forwarders.
However, it was gathered that the shipping companies, which are the party in dispute with the freight forwarders, were conspicuously absent.
According to Alhaji Tanko Ibrahim, the National Coordinator of the 100 percent compliance team of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders ( NAGAFF), who spearheaded the protest, the shipping companies neither attended nor sent representatives.
“It was the height of insult and annoying display of arrogance by the shipping companies”, Alhaji Tanko Ibrahim fumed.
“We know these foreign shipping companies are arrogant and stubborn but they shall meet their match in us, the freight forwarders.
” Because we are resolute in our determination and commitment to this cause”, he stated.
He however said both the CRFFN and Shippers’ Council have appealed to the freight forwarders to shelve their planned strike and give them enough time to reach out to all the relevant parties to the dispute.
“They have appealed to us to suspend our planned protest which is supposed to have commenced on November 10th, 2021 which is the expiry date of our ultimatum to the shipping companies” Alhaji Tanko Ibrahim declared.
“In deference to the authority of the two agencies(CRFFN and Shippers’Council)  as regulatory bodies, we shall defer to their appeal by giving them two additional weeks to get in touch with whom they want to reach out to.
“The two additional weeks we are giving them starts from Monday, November 1st, 2021 to enable them to exhaust all peaceful means to stave off the impending showdown with these arrogant and recalcitrant shipping companies” the NAGAFF anti-corruption czar declared.
He stated that if after this show of magnanimity by the freight forwarders, the shipping companies still appear unbending in their extortionist activities and high-handedness, the customs brokers will be left with no other option than to carry out their strike action.
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Farinto urges Customs brokers to mobilise 5m votes for  presidential candidate who is freight forwarders- friendly

Kayode Farinto, Ag, Pre4sident, ANLCA
Eyewitness reporter
Kayode Farinto, the Acting President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has enjoined freight forwarders to use their votes to bring in a government that has a passion for the welfare of freight forwarders in Nigeria.
The ANLCA chieftain made this call Monday in his May Day/ Sallah message to the freight forwarders confraternity.
Farinto, who bemoaned the harassment and intimidation the freight forwarders are being subjected to under the outgoing government in terms of multiple charges, levies and extortions, urged the oppressed customs brokers to use their PVCs to bring in a presidential candidate who will end the misery and sufferings of freight forwarders.
Consequently, he asked that the freight forwarders should mobilise at least five million votes in the maritime industry for a presidential candidate among the legion of contenders who will work for the welfare of customs brokers.
“The inconsistency in government policies is an eye-opener and we will enjoin our members to give the over five million votes in the industry to a presidential candidate that will be explicit on how to assist the Freight forwarding profession viz a viz implementation of people’s welfare policies their support and endorsements come 2023.
Farinto said the present government has shown a lack of empathy for the suffering and harassed freight forwarders who are even overburdened with all manner of charges in the face of an economic crunch.
“We won’t allow anyone to fool us like this outgoing government is doing.
“We are gradually losing our profession to foreign domination courtesy of lack of law that will protect indigenous practitioners”, he lamented.
While urging the freight forwarders to brace up for the reintroduction of the revised Vehicles Identification Number (VIN) valuation policy this month, the ANLCA Chief warned them to be on their guard against people who may wish to compromise the process to the detriment of freight forwarders.
“Let me commence by saying that, it is obvious that the NCS will be implementing the VIN VALUATION this month, going by the news filtering around us in the industry and we need to monitor this because people will not want the process to be successful may introduce things outside our agreement into the procedures”
“I have released the agreed procedures on clearance of Standard Chassis vehicles that fall within VIN valuation and Non-Standard chassis vehicles,salvage, and accidented vehicles a few days ago.
 “We need to allow these new changes going by all we go through in the hands of customs various units to clear vehicles in the ports”
He recounted the horrific process of a clearance procedure, especially of vehicles, which he said is laced with extortions by the Customs
 “Even when you take your valuation, many alerts are put on our declarations and it takes the grace of God and difficult conditions to get them out of the ports.
“As if that is not enough, you need to know the numbers of calls we receive from our members delivering these vehicles within and outside the Lagos environment.
“Many customs units will say, your values are compromised, it must be jacked up and many of us are at their mercies pleading that DN should not be issued on already exited vehicles.
“This and many more things are what we believe The VIN valuation will eliminate.
“Many agents have been given forged and mutilated valuation papers by the third parties and are left to suffer the consequences of whatever happens.
“We do not need all this to get our vehicles released and we promise to challenge any command that may want to use the office of monitoring to extort money from our members when this new process commences.
The ANLCA Acting President also promised that the controversial issue of the National Automotive Council (NAC) 15 percent level will be pursued to its logical conclusion through the involvement of the national assembly and the instrumentality of the soon to be inaugurated Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding Practice in Nigeria (CRFFN).
“The issue of 15 percent NAC turn levy will be pursued vigorously immediately after the Sallah break
because we will engage the National Assembly on the need for them to know that, this government is not sensitive to the plight of the masses to have introduced a levy at this period when the economy is in comatose.
” And we will also ensure that the Federal Ministry of Finance is dragged before the people’s representatives on this matter.
“Since the CRFFN governing council may also be inaugurated this week, it will be our first issue to be raised at the plenary which needs urgent national attention.
“All our efforts to eliminate NAC turn levy is being done in collaboration with the motor dealers association”
Farinto however said that before these lofty objectives of the leadership of the freight forwarders could be achieved, the members of the confraternity must be united to achieve their common goal.
“We must however come together to achieve greatness. An injury to one should be an injury to all” he declared.
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