The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has challenged maritime stakeholders on the importance of adhering to the Nigerian Port Process Manual (NPPM) in promoting efficiency and transparency in port operations.
The Executive Secretary, (NSC), Mr Emmanuel Jime, made the call at a two-day seminar on the implementation of the Nigerian Port Process Manual (NPPM) held in Lagos on Tuesday.
The seminar had the theme, “Global Best Practices in Port Operations and the Industry Perspective.”
He said the conversations on obligations of various stakeholders, mode of terminal operations, shipping operations, attitude of truckers and role of dock workers as enshrined in the manual would provide beneficial information.
He noted that this information would add to their knowledge of the sector for everyone to foster operational efficiency in line with global best practices.
“I commend the doggedness and commitment of the Port Standing Task Team (PSTT) which has resulted to the laudable achievements recorded since the commencement of the operations of the team.
“The implementation of the Manual has facilitated the ease of doing business in our ports and has drastically reduced corruption tendencies.
“This seminar is put together by the PSTT, comprising the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Department of State Services (DSS) and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
“The seminar is designed to provide participants with the opportunity to deliberate on subject of mutual interest, identify problems bedeviling the sector, and consciously proffering sustainable solutions,” he said.
He said the proper understanding and application of the manual would bring about cost-effectiveness, reduction of waste while maintaining quality of service.
He added that it would also bring about transparency in the conduct of port businesses, which would produce trust and goodwill while safeguarding the industry’s reputation among investors, partners, customers and other stakeholders.
“It is my belief that if relevant stakeholders and authorities comply with approved standards and rules as enshrined in the manual, challenges faced today will automatically ease off and pave way for seamless operations at our port,” he said.
Also, Mr Moses Fadipe, Coordinator PSTT, while discussing the overview and feedback on the manual urged all agencies to review their system to comply with the standard of the NPPM.
He also pointed out that the manual was designed as zero tolerance policy for wastefulness.
According to Fadipe, the teams at the port corridor are to arrest the logjam caused by trucks, adding that they have achieved some semblance of orderliness with the improved turn-around time of cargo examination.
“What this means is that more containers are examined and this increases the traffic of trucks moving out of our ports, from 125 in Apapa to 195, from an average of 170 in Tin Can to 230.
“So, with all these statistics, we know that more trucks are coming in to the ports,” he said.
Fadipe noted that the PSTT had instituted an enduring mechanism, which had aided them, such as advocacy, education/workshop, intelligence gathering, introduction of registers for monitoring examiners and others.
He listed some of the hindrances experienced as: boarding officers, fragrant disregard to joint boarding on examination of cargo, excessive sample taking, boarding officers misinterpretation of information and misuse of power.
“The task team is inundated with complaints and suggestions pointing at serious barriers to business.
“Specialised civil society in the industry and private operators may be viewing agencies of government as too preoccupied with the idea of stopping trucks outside the ports for investigations.
“As representatives of the government, we are challenged to look inward to identify personnel that are compromising at cargo examinations leading to stoppages on the roads and bridges of the corridors.
“If it is a case of unskillfulness, it will be necessary that the capacities of the examination officials are built properly.
“These will serve to enhance the corporate image of our respective organisations,” he said.
Some stakeholders present at the seminar were the Nigeria Customs Service, Nigeria Immigration Service, Freight Forwarders, terminal operators, Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service and National Drug Law Enforcement Agency.
The stakeholders pointed out that the manual was not cast in stone and should be reviewed so as to be more effective. nan.