By Shola Fadeyi
ES/CEO, Shippers’ Council, Hassan Bello
As part of measures to enhance the operations of the Nigerian Seaports, post COVID -19 , the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC ) has set machinery in motion to increase the 60 per cent level of automation of the stakeholders operations, it has already achieved at the Ports.
The Executive Secretary/ Chief Executive Officer of the Shippers’ Council, Hassan Bello confirmed the development to the Marine and economy at the organisation’s headquarters in Lagos recently.
He said that the Shippers’ Council is unrelenting at ensuring that it progresses on its quest to increase the level of automation in the services of the stakeholders at the nation’s seaports, particularly with the need to make the Ports to provide more qualitative and efficient services to the importers and freight forwarders among others, post COVID- 19.
Bello disxlosed that the seriousness with which the Shippers’ Council has pursued the programme at the seaports has made it to yield the positive result , saying this is because , the situation was almost at a zero level some years back before the Council got it to the current 60 per cent level.
Bello disclosed that the challenges posed by the advent of the Coronavirus Pandemic has made it necessary for the Port stakeholders to enhance their level of automation , if the Ports must be competitive ,more customers friendly and be able to improve on its level of cargo dwell time and delivery of cargoes.
According to him , the target of the Shippers’ Council beyond enhancing the level of automation at the Ports is to also ensure integration of the programme, between and among the various stakeholders so that it will achieve the desired purpose of trade facilitation and fast tracking of goods clearing.
He however advised the importers and the freight forwarders to also boost their level of professionalism and automation of their own services as well as their understanding of technological processes and procedures ,for them to be in sync with the level of automation that is ongoing at the nation;s seaports.
The Shippers’ Council boss stated that , just as the Nigerian Ports Authority(NPA) , Nigerian Customs Service(NCS) , Nigerian Agency for Food , Drugs Administration and Control(NAFDAC) ,Standards Organisation of Nigeria(SON) , the Terminal Operators , Shipping Companies among others are improving the pace of automation of their operations, the consumers of their services should ensure they are not left behind.
For instance, he said to lend credence to the fast pace at which operations at the seaports are automating , the Customs is now moving from its current Nigerian integrated , Customs Information System (NICIS) II to Electronic Customs , which would make it improve on the level and pace at which it collects revenue for the Federal Government.
He explained that the utmost importance the Council attaches to the automation issue has lent credence to its level of involvement in the Single Window Project , which is being coordinated by the Customs , adding that it is expected that the programme will become a reality post covid 19, because of its capacity to integrate the operations of all service providers and consumers at the Ports.