By Ajibola Abayomi,
May 23, 2018.
The founder of National Association of Government Approved Fret Forwarders (NAGAFF) Dr. Boniface Aniebonam has raised the alarm over plots by some individuals and groups to discredit freight forwarders operating within the PTML terminal.
He raised the alarm in a press release he issued in Lagos.
While he prayed for God’s wisdom to arrest such people he said it was the duty of PTML to inform and educate all concerned persons that NAGAFF was doing everything possible to protect all of freight forwarders and licensed customs agents operating at that terminal legally.
He said what NAGAFF was agitating for was to ensure that PTML management respects the Ports Order concerning matters access control.
According to him, the Port Order was very clear as to the process to be followed for all freight forwarders to gain access into the ports and terminals in the course of their legitimate duty.
His words: “It is the directive of the Hon. Minister of Transport, that all freight forwarders who have legitimate businesses to do at the ports should be allowed into the ports with ID card issued by the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) with the approval of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) being the Chief Security Officer of the seaports and terminals. The use of Form C30 of the Licensed Customs Agents is in breach of the Port Order.
“Let it be told that NAGAFF management is in touch with the Government Authorities in this matter including the management of PTML who may be acting out of misinformation based on the alleged authority of the Customs to use Form C30 only for the access control.
“And for the emphasis, it is important that we inform all concerned that a Licensed Customs Agent is subsumed into the Logistics Chain of moving cargo across the international boundaries of a state to the final destination.
“It is of note to mention that it is mandatory for every Licensed Customs Agent to be duly registered and accredited by the CRFFN as a regulatory Agency of the Government. In this regard, it shall be a common sense that PTML management should adopt the Register of Freight Forwarders as compiled by CRFFN for the purposes of access control responsibilities.
“In this wise, PTML is a hybrid freight forwarding and logistics service provider. It is an irony that PTML is shooting itself on the foot for denying access to her colleagues. Anyway, that is a matter for another day. It is therefore to state clearly that our demand is as follows: 1. Access into the terminal should be free. Any administrative cost should be paid to NPA as the landlord of the port in line with Ports Order.
“Access control measures should continue to exist without hindering access to Customs Officers on duty and other related service providers connected to cargo clearance out of Customs control in PTML.
“PTML is being encouraged to differentiate its security zone from the users end in accordance with international best practice on ports management and administration.
“That PTML should seek and obtain the register of freight forwarders of Nigeria under the control and regulations of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) to enable her seamless access control measures.
“That a freight forwarders mini cargo village be provided to enhance shelter against scorch from sun and during rainy season for all freight forwarders and Licensed Customs Agents operating at PTML/Grimaldi. It is our expectation that Freight Forwarders should be treated with decency”, he said.
He informed that NAGAFF is a knowledge driven organization and accordingly shall continue to deploy civilized conduct in its policy advocacy role to address all contending issues rather than violent approach.
He continued, “It is therefore necessary and timely information to all concerned that anybody found in a violent conduct is definitely not a member of NAGAFF. The Intelligence Unit of NAGAFF has been mandated to keep an eye over those disgruntled elements with the intent to cause public disorder which is avoidable and unnecessary. It is a fact that violence cannot resolve any dispute but rather constructive engagement among parties concerned to resolve all matters of concern.
“NAGAFF is equally in touch with the AIG Maritime and the CP Ports on matters of protection of life and properties of all our members that come to the Nigerian Ports to transact genuine business.
“We shall in due course make further statement but be sure that this matter shall come to an end in due time and all parties shall appreciate each other more as responsible partners. PTML is an investor in our country and it behooves on all of us to encourage and partner with them as good citizens of Nigeria” he said.