Firm unveils Customs cargo tracking system to prevent diversion, theft
Webb Fontaine has set up a cargo tracking system for use by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in Apapa port, Lagos, to monitor containers and prevent diversions from specified movement itineraries as well as loss and theft of cargo.
Webb Fontaine’s Operations Manager in Nigeria, Vlad Lonescu, who disclosed this, said it is a major milestone in NCS modernisation drive, which will aid online, real-time, and live monitoring containers within controlled areas in the customs zone in and outside of the port.
According to him, anomalies such as containers missing in transit, tampering with the seal, broaching, and removal of cargo before examination can be easily detected and traced using the technology.
He said this would also change the narrative of neighbouring countries like Benin Republic being ahead of Nigeria in areas of customs and ports aided automation.
Lonescu said customs officers trained by the firm would operate the system that would aid in achieving more operational successes that could have been done manually.
He said the new system comes with many advantages, including building shippers’ and port users’ confidence in theft prevention and curbing other unlawful activities, as well as saving the cost and time of using too much manpower to provide escort services for cargoes in transit as their movements within a geo-fenced zone will be monitored.
He said the feat in Apapa, which would serve as a test run, will be replicated in other ports across the country and will help position Nigeria as having a competitive port, befitting for hub status in the West and Central African region.
Lonescu said the cargo tracking system would function in Apapa and Tin Can ports with two Inland Container Depots to help decongest the ports and improve the revenue of NCS.
“The NCS will monitor the full process; we are in charge of training the officers that are going to operate and supervise the transit of the goods. They will be in a control room with screens, computers and digital maps, from which they can monitor the movement of each container.
“By doing this, the ports will be decongested and all stakeholders like the terminal operators, ship owners, freight forwarders among other port users will be confident that when they move cargo from the ports they will be safe,” he said.
Speaking on exports and Customs processes, Lonescu added that the firm has finished automation of the Lagos Free Trade Zone, which is the first of its kind to benefit from this electronic process, adding that it is deploying this same electronic system to other Free Trade Zones in Nigeria.