The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) Friday urged Moslem faithful in the country to use the occasion of the Eid el Kabir celebration to also pray for the nation’s ports/shipping industry to come out of a number of precarious issues.
The association said such prayers were seriously needed in view of the myriad of problems that have bedeviled the industry and now threatening the national economy and the citizens.
Among the issues requiring prayers were the coronavirus pandemic and its effect on the sector, “inefficiencies and resultant costly delays” for ship and cargo clearance which according to the association have become big pains to the owners and the economy.
The association also said part of the prayer point should be for the ports to have modern cargo handling equipment that will ensure fast discharge of cargos from vessels as well as those for positioning of containers for examination, among others.
The association pointed out that the effect of inadequate cargo handling equipment which has resulted in inefficiencies in the system was that when such goods are eventually cleared, the huge costs are transferred to the Nigerian citizens.
In a statement from the President, Chief, Hon. Increase Uche, the association said it was time to end illegal transfer of shippers consignments to undesignated terminals and their charges, including empty containers racketeering, exploitative and extortive charges which worsen the rising incidences of capital flight and inflation was now.
It would be recalled that the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) had issued a statement to stop terminal operators and shipping companies from collecting fresh charges on transfer of containers to off-dock terminals since the freight paid at port of loading covers such charges.
Among the prayer points from the association read:
“c. On The Government and Its Relevant Ministries: That the Almighty Allah will grant leadership at all level ( especially the executive and legislative) a deeper understanding to appreciate the obvious fact that the port is a blessing to a nation and its people, wherefore the size and efficiency of a port is an indication of how prosperous and successful the surrounding cities and states under the region are. Leadership should stop merely seeing the port as a physical interchanges for the trading community or as a middle grounds between the buyer and sellers, far from that, the Port/shipping industry is the most assuring gateways to our nation’s wealth and well being.
“May Allah help them to stop playing frivolities and politicization of trade policies. Hardship occasioned by the Apapa Gridlocks is a defective policy vision.
“d. On General Prayer For Industry Expectations: As Nigeria Port Users. We look up to the Almighty Allah, as we expect the following efficiency requirements for most of our ports:
i. A well organized container yard, for both storage and handling of Containers.
ii. An efficient, accurate and well organized ship planning department to ensure proper stowage for export concern.
iii. A high end computerized system to control the smooth delivery of cargo to and from the port to avoid further congestion and delays.
iv. A good highly trained and qualified workforce working 24/7.
v. A good Ports Access Roads Linking Rails and Barge to facilitate transporting logistics and delivery.
vi. An efficient professional Customs Clearance System.
vii. A foresight and forward planning to ensure that there are always enough berths available to handle larger and faster container ships.
viii. A mechanicm to meaningfully fight systemic corruption and sharp malpractices.
ix. A computerized system that allows the automation of routine operations in the ports , that can be handled by a remote control device.
x. Making the port as Customer oriented as possible and having a users friendly tariff system, thereby boosting the ease of doing business quest of the government.
“These and many more we join our MUSLIMS BROTHERS AND SISTERS in praying the Almighty Allah to grant us in this Eid el Kabir Celebration.
We wish you all a joyous celebration. May Allah Answer and Accept Our petitions. Amin.
“Eid el Kabir marks an important shares of the Islamic faith, when the Almighty Allah hears and accepts the petitions and sacrificial from the hands of all Muslim faithful.
A time like this serves as most appropriate for the all faithful to individually and collectively pray for our ports/shipping industry which is presently bedeviled with myriads of challenges, which in turn threaten our national economy and citizens in general”.
“It is incumbent on us to add spiritual impetus in furthering our public policy advocacy drives as an accredited professional Freight Forwarding Associations in Nigeria by making this passionate request to all faithful carrying one activity or the other in our port/shipping community, to kindly use this auspicious occasion of Eid el Kabir Celebration to pray for Port/shipping industry by extension Nigeria in general.
“This passionate request has become even more potent and inevitable in the face of the Covid 19 Pandamic and its negative effects in our port /shipping industry, especially those saturated and congested ports in our country.
“There is gainsaying to reiterate that, ports are vital components in the shipping business, which serve as fulcrum drive to the development quest of the nation. Wherefore inefficiencies of the ports will always results in costly delays for ship and cargo owners who can ill afford such daily costs, but when they go out of their way to pay such costs, it ends up being transferred to the citizens who eventually bear the financial burden”.
”Against this background, we therefore request for specific prayers in the following order: a. On Our Container Ports: That our ports must be equipped with the most modern cargo handling facilities (equipment) to keep productivity at an optimum level, which is measured by the vessel turnaround time ( being the length of time that the vessel remains in the port while it’s being loaded or unloaded) which is dependent on Crane productivity and how many container the gantry crane can handle per move per hour.
“Our ship turnaround time seems to have gone beyond Four (4) days going up to 21 days. May Allah touch the heart of most of our port operators to invest on brand new cargo handling facilities and not refurbished cargo handling equipment.
“b. On The Regulatory Authorities: That Allah will energize and strength the regulatory authorities to not only in understanding the economic benefits of the ports to the nation as a whole, but to also to see need to appreciate their crucial roles at ensuring that, the ports must be run or administered and controlled as an efficient organization at all time, hence, the need to stop playing to the gallery with regards to supervision and regulations.
“The time to end an era of scattering shippers consignment to undesignated terminals is now, the time to end the littering of empty containers racketeering is now, the time exploitative and extortive charges which worsen the rising incidences of capital flight and inflation is now”.