By Godfrey Bivbere
Director ofÂ Legal Services,Â Nigerian Shippersâ€™ Council (NSC), Hassan Bello has said that Nigeria will benefit from the proposed legal frame work for a unified international cargo shipment.
Speaking with Vanguard in his office in Lagos yesterday, the NSC chieftain said when the new legal frame work comes into force later this month, cargo owners would be entitled to higher limits of compensation in cases of loses, damages and delays.
He pointed out that local operators would also not be left out of these benefits when the unified frame work finally become operative.
On whether the new frame work like others before it would not expose African and Nigerian shippers to the exploitative tendencies of developed maritime nationâ€™s, Bello said that Nigeria and Africa was actively involved from the formative stages of the new legal frame work which began since 1998.
In preparation to the signing of the new law, the NSC which represents Nigeria had gathered other African nations together in Abuja in 2005. He further explained that there were two other of such meetings before a common position was reached by them.
He went further to state that the agreement reached by the African nations was presented by Nigeria at a meeting of the United Nations as â€œWorking Paper 93 by group 3 and was adopted as the position for about 20 African countries.â€
Bello however noted that despite the contributions of the African group in the formation stages of the new legal frame work, Nigeria and indeed African nations would not immediately sign it. He said that after the signing, there is need for African countries to gather again to review it before finally appending their signature to it.
He Shippersâ€™ Council helmsman explained that the differential legal frame work presently operational makes it difficult for shippers to make claims of their cargoes in case of a problem arising from shipment because frame work is varied from one country to another in line with the exiting three.
On the Inland Container Depots (ICDâ€™s), the Shippers Council boss noted that all is set for construction work to commence at the various sites and in a couple of months the project would become functional.He said that the Council has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with all the relevant stakeholders in readiness to the take off of the project.