Group kicks against Webb Fontaine’s customs cargo tracking contract
The African Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON) has described the launch of Cargo Tracking System by Webb Fontaine for use by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) as a ploy by the service provider to remain at the nation’s ports.
The group said the contract of the service provider was scheduled to end this month to allow importers, freight forwarders, customs agents and the entire maritime sector to receive ‘a breath of fresh air, as the services of the company have been economic sabotage to the nation.
The National President, APFFLON, Frank Ogunojemite, lamented that Webb Fontaine has become irrelevant in the nation following the E-Customs project and other automated processes by the service that have been inefficient.
He said the company’s 16 years of management of the customs portal has been characterised by consistent server breakdowns, which either connotes gross inefficiency or a non-challant work culture by the organisation.
Ogunojemite said the service provider has made importers suffer colossal fiscal losses from downtime at every port and terminal in the nation, which has led to higher prices for imported goods (inflation) and impoverishing Nigerians, while the company suffers no loss.
“Now, we have commendable development at Customs with Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) valuation system, V-Reg, scanners have been deployed and over 100 more are expected with the Customs Modernisation Project; why should this country continue to keep creating platforms for Webb Fontaine?” he asked.
He, however, expressed worry that the new contract might be an indication that some highly placed politicians and customs officials may be profiting from the arrangement with Webb Fontaine.
Ogunojemite wondered if the company was doing the cargo tracking system in collaboration with the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), which has a similar mandate.
Ogunojemite recalled that APFFLON had a pending petition against Webb Fontaine at the National Assembly over its poor performance in the subsisting contract with customs.
To provide clarity on the Shippers Council’s Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) platform, the Executive Secretary of NSC, Hon. Emmanuel Jime, said the council wasn’t working in sync or affiliated with Webb Fontaine in any way.
Jime, however, noted that the procurement processes to deliver cargo tracking are ongoing with the Ministry of Transportation currently supervising the development.
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