Shippers’ Council to scrap container deposit regime, signs MoU with FCCPC
• Partners NEPC on establishment, operation of 12 domestic export warehouses
Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has assured of readiness to scrap the container deposits regime currently being operated by shipping companies, describing it as ‘oppressive and fraudulent.’
The secretary of the council, Emmanuel Jime, who disclosed this to journalists in Apapa, Lagos, said the council is set to introduce a Container Deposits Insurance Scheme.
He said shipping companies in the country are more interested in the deposit fund than the business of shipping itself, because of the huge money they make from it.
“One of the things we have put in place as a mechanism for dealing with it is the container deposits insurance scheme that is working with the Federal Ministry of Transportation, our parent ministry together with insurance companies.
“They are putting together a regime that we believe would address this container deposit challenges in a lot better, efficient and more profitable manner for the shipping community,” he said.
Jime, however, disclosed that due to lack of enabling laws to sanction errant port operators, the council has entered into a partnership with the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) to sanction operators who flout economic regulations in the nation’s maritime industry.
He expressed optimism that the agreement with the FCCPC will institute an effective consumer protection regime in the country’s maritime industry.
He said both agencies have concluded on the inauguration of a joint committee that will drive the implementation of the MoU.
Jime said the partnership is necessary as the legal framework that empowers the Shipper’s Council to intervene in disputes, has limitations that do not allow it to sanction errant port operators as expected in the maritime industry.
“Several times, port users have come to us with complaints, which we tackle. However, there are usually no sanctions because the Shippers Council does not have such powers to sanction,” he said.
He added that the FCCPC is an agency of government that has the powers to arrest, prosecute and sanction, beyond the capacity of the Shipper’s Council.
He also added that the agreement provides additional support when NSC intervenes in commercial disputes between cargo owners, importers, shipping companies and terminal operators.
Jime added that there will be periodic visits to shipping companies and terminal operators to ensure compliance with the council’s regulatory mandate.
He also revealed that the council has collaborated with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) on the establishment and operation of domestic export warehouses, leading to the granting of approval to 12 domestic export warehouses nationwide for commencement of operations.
He listed some of the facilities approved to begin operations to include GEZEWA Commodity Exchange in Kano State; MV EHILOMEL, Onne in Rivers State; ESSLIBRA in Ikorodu, Lagos State; Harris Logistics in Lokoja, Kogi State; Sealink Limited in Ajaokuta, Kogi State; Kaduna Inland Dry Port in Kaduna State and AMES-Edo Inland dry port in Benin, Edo State among others.
Jime also disclosed that the council has signed an MoU with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on the operations of Inland Dry Ports (IDPs) in the country, adding that works are ongoing to inaugurate the implementation committee.
According to him, the Dala Inland Dry Port is 95 per cent completed in preparation for the official commissioning and commencement of operations in July 2022, while the Funtua Inland Dry Port is 85 per cent completed for its official commissioning later in the year.
He also said the council is facilitating and supervising the handover of the Heipang-Jos Inland Dry Port project to Plateau Investment and Property Development Company (PIPDC) to ensure the completion and commissioning of the project later in the year.
Jime further noted that the council is promoting the establishment of an International Maritime Resource Centre in Jos as well as collaborating with Adamawa State Government on the establishment of Vehicle Transit Areas (VTA) and Border Information Centre (BIC) in Adamawa State.
He said the council is not resting on its oars to deliver on its mandate and ensure that Nigerian ports are competitive when compared with neighbouring ports in the West African sub-region.
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