NIGERIA FREIGHT FORWARDERS’ SUMMIT TO BE HELD ANNUALLY
** Maiden summit recommends improved relationship among stakeholders
By Mcanthony Onuoha
It was a convergence of who is who in the freight forwarding subsector at Rockview Hotel and Suites FESTAC Town, Amuwo Odofin, Lagos, on Thursday the 22nd of September, 2022.
Concerned Nigerian Registered Freight Forwarders (CNRFF), in collaboration with Freight Forwarders Consultative Forum (FFCF), organized maiden freight Forwarders’ Summit to address the challenges bedeviling the subsector.
The summit which was chaired by veteran maritime practitioner and Chieftain of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents( ANLCA), Sir Ernest Elochukwu, provided a platform for seasoned freight forwarders and maritime stakeholders to deliberate on critical issues, especially operational challenges bedeviling maritime practitioners as speaker after speaker hammered on very obvious ones and at the same time proffered solutions to them.
According to the Chief Convener, Dr. Basil Nwolisa (Abadikeogu), “convening the summit was extremely necessary as we needed to explore grounds for improved relationship between the government, non- governmental organizations and freight forwarders in the ports industry.
Salient recommendations were made by participants at the summit which were contained in the communique signed by the Chairman, Steering Committee, Prince George Ndubuisi and the Steering Committee Secretary, Alhaji AbdulRazak Giwa, and made available to the media.
Participants who took time off their businesses to attend the summit and also made vital contributions as well as the efforts of its organizers were commended at the summit.
Other salient recommendations include: Improvement of relationship between stakeholders in the ports industry going forward.
The summit recognized that problems bedeviling the freight forwarding subsector was on the increase and that solutions be proffered without further delay.
The summit also demanded that the implementation of 32-point solutions proffered by Freight Forwarders Consultative Forum (FFCF) in its meeting in August 2022 and ratified by Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria-CRFFN in its meeting in September, 2022, should be fast.
It was also agreed that a monitoring committee be set up to oversee the implementation of solutions to the identified problems in the subsector.
Agreement was also reached on making Freight Forwarders’ Summit an annual event under same structure.
Furthermore, it was agreed that going forward, Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria-CRFFN should effectively fulfill its mandate of training and retraining of practitioners and to always attend to the welfare of Registered Freight Forwarders.
Agreement was also reached to have stakeholders close ranks and always present challenges facing them in one voice.
It was also recommended that going forward, the CRFFN Governing Council and management should be administered strictly according to the provision of the Act that established it. Furthermore, the Summit recommended that the CRFFN Establishment Act should be amended to reflect the required focus and independence.
Finally, Summit recommended that all freight forwarding associations should be marged into one body for better and effective representation.
Speaking to the Prestige Blended Magazine at the end of the Summit, the Convener of Concerned Nigerian Registered Freight Forwarders CNRFF, Dr. Basil Chudi Nwolisa, said that, ” our mission is to tackle most of the challenges we have in the industry responsibly and diplomatically. The days of brigandine approach and rioting is far gone and we need to deploy our energies interfacing with stakeholders and government towards achieving ease of doing business in a friendly environment.”
” We have to prick the conscience of Government and their representatives to make the shipping companies and terminal operators improve on their services. We have to equally interface with Nigeria Customs Service to do away with some practices that are not in tandem with CEMA,CAMA and international best practices.”
” United we shall achieve a lot. The diversity of Nigeria which suppose to be a blessing has turned out to be a curse because the political class are teaching and recruiting us to fight against one another on the alter of ethnicity and religion. In like manner, leaders in the sector have continued to highlight our differences rather than taking it as an advantage to advance the cause of industry stakeholders as one family”.
I” However, the ensuing melee has further emasculated our position as freight forwarders. It is not too late to chart a new course with every sense of honesty to regain our lost glory and position in the sector. How can we be held hostage by ourselves? A new and modern way of doing things will usher in prosperity. Let’s demand our rights in more civilised manner. Welcome to this peaceful and information based revolution.” Nwolisa stated.