NAGAFF 100 percent compliance team talks tough

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  • Threatens to clamp down on bonded terminals over poor handling of containers
  • Some terminals don’t have equipment for operations – Says Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko

(Report by Udeme Clement):

The atmosphere at the Secretariat of
National Association of Government approved freight forwarders ( NAGAFF) 100 percent Compliance team was charged yesterday, as the group talked tough, threatening to clamp down on erring bonded terminals in Lagos, over poor handling of containers belonging to maritime traders.

The team also frowned at lack of operational efficiency by some terminal operators in the maritime industry, saying its decision is to shut down such bonded terminals.

Addressing Journalists during a press conference yesterday, the National Coordinator of the team, Alhaji ibrahim Tanko, revealed that some bonded terminals don’t even have operational equipment to handle containers the way it ought to be.

This inefficiency by terminal operators, he said often result in damage of containers, as well as high cost of demurrage being paid by freight forwarders to bonded terminals and shipping firms.

Alhaji Tanko, who is also the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Ibraleo Nigeria limited, lamented that inefficiency of terminal operators is taking its toll on freight forwarders, who bear the extra costs from something that is not their fault.

He disclosed: “It may interest you to know that at Unity bonded terminal and other places, our containers are being dropped on flooded grounds for examination to be carried out. And you must pay for rain boot, to be able to access the terminals.

“Also, at Unity bonded terminal, there is no forklift to bring out goods for examination, while demurrage continues to rise at the terminal, to the detriment of freight forwarders.

Alhaji Tanko, stressed that lack of modern equipment and operational lapses on the part of terminal operators must not be taken with levity anymore, as these problems have been lingering for years.

He revealed that during the tour of bonded terminals by the Compliance team, some of these problems were identified but till now, no corrective measures have been put in place by companies involved to equip their terminals and upgrade their operations, despite high charges being paid by freight forwarders.

He emphasised that proactive steps must be taken to sanction erring terminals not keeping to the rules of engagement in handling containers in the industry.

Alhaji Tanko revealed that as part of efforts to ensure strict adherence to operational standards by bonded terminals, the compliance team has written a petition to the Customs Area controller (CAC) of NIgeria Customs Service, Apapa Command, drawing attention of the CAC, to alleged sharp practices, as well as non compliance to container handling procedures.

He urged the Service to enforce compliance for well equipped and operational efficient bonded terminals. This, he said, becomes imperative to ensure smooth examination of containers, in order to promote ease of doing business at bonded terminals.

The press conference took an interesting dimension with introduction of 20 members for New Operations Unit of NAGAFF Compliance team, led by Mr. Sunday Sylvester.

Speaking further, Alhaji Tanko, explained that the New operations Unit will ensure that free flow of imports and exports are maintained at all times, to enhance trade facilitation.

Other top officials of the Compliance team, who spoke against inefficiency of terminal operators included, the National Secretary, Western Zone of NAGAFF Compliance team, Mr Clement Chukwuemeka, Mr B. Okeke, among other members, who resolved strongly to resist further attempt by terminal operators to damage containers/cargoes belonging to maritime traders in the industry.

The programme ended with group photographs by members of the Compliance team, who turned out from various Units, all dressed in their official enforcement uniforms.

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