CRNFF HAS APFFLON’S UNALLOYED SUPPORT OVER CALL ON CRFFN TO ADDRESS LINGERING MANAGERIAL ISSUES AND THE REMOVAL OF UNNECESSARY BOTTLENECKS FOR HITCH-FREE PORTS OPERATIONS BY CUSTOMS, SHIPPING COMPANIES, TERMINAL OPERATORS AND OTHER AGENCIES
Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders – APFFLON, hereby wish to join Concerned Nigerian Registered Freight Forwarders-CNRFF to urge Customs and other agencies of government to urgently address lingering managerial and operational issues in the port
APPLON, as a Maritime Advocacy group, can not feign ignorance about the present plight of freight forwarders and show of gross display of insensitivity by concerned authorities. It has been an era of heplessness as those expected to raise voices in our defense are the ones shouting us down for selfish interests.
APFFLON as an advocacy group, will never support any ploy targeted at frustrating freight forwarders as well as actions against the policy of Ease of Doing Business (EoDB).
We are not unaware of myriad of operational challenges currently being faced by freight forwarders,which include, issues of multiple alerts on single declaration, skyrocketed CIF, frustration of freight forwarders by Taskforce, FOU, Enforcement and Valuation Units, shipping companies’ high-handedness, especially, forceful collection of 10 to 14 days upfront charges and additional demurrage demand after the expiration of initial rating on containerized goods, delays in refund of container deposits, high level of impunity by terminal operators despite non availability of standard equipment, police harassment and interception of exited containers and vehicles as well as regular attacks on freight forwarders by Area Boys, etc.
APFFLON, as a group, supports the position of Concerned Nigerian Freight Forwarders-CNRFF demanding that Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria-CRFFN, should rise to the occasion, APFFLON, hereby strongly lend its voice to say enough is enough !
However, the issue of alleged misappropriation of fund by the management of CRFFN must be urgently addressed as allegations of such magnitude can not be swept under the carpet. We demand transparent stewardship, and will not be part of the ploy by any group or representative of government to ditch sensitive allegations against the management of CRFFN or other agencies of government in the maritime sector.
Recall that in May this year, the House Committee on Customs and Exise led by the Committee Chairman, Hon. Leke Babajide, in a tour of Customs Commands and all Ports, to carry out investigation on transparency and how to improve ports operations, insisted that the House would in the cause of the oversight function and on-the-spot assessment, ascertain the status of scanners, and why despite the massive investment for their acquisition and prior modernization of its operation,the service, yet again, failed to achieve modernization objectives. APFFLON, was one of the groups that commended the Committee for condemning the resort to physical inspection of cargoes which is grossly time consuming, ineffective, and laced with corruption. The Chairman, during the tour, noted that manual cargo inspection also contributes to delays in the ports and land borders, describing it as an “untenable status quo that must be changed”.
APFFLON is shocked to the marrow, that six months after that very tour, nothing has changed, rather we have continued to face worse operational challenges.
Although APFFLON is in total support of CNRFF’s position, we are of the opinion that every issue has to be resolved at a roundtable and not embarking on industrial action yet, we are optimistic of getting stakeholders and concerned authorities to look into the issues and find ways of addressing them .
Otunba Frank Ogunojemite,