By Godwin Oritse
A total of fifteen African countries have so far connected their international trade onto the CargoTracking Scheme since 2003 according to a global report.
The scheme is available in three versions: Manual, electronic and satellite, according to a 53-pages report tagged â€˜Global Perspective on Cargo Tracking and its effect to security and safety on the nation’s economy, a research workÂ by the National President, National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA) Mr. Lucky Amiwero.
Amiwero shared the contents of the report when he featured as guest speaker at a one-day seminar on Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) organised by the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria (MARAN) in Lagos.
Amiwero in his report disclosed that other countries implementing CTN in Africa are Ghana, Republic of Cameroon, Republic of Congo, Cote Dâ€™Ivoire and Benin. Others are Niger, Central Africa Republic, Senegal, Kenya, Angola, Togo, Uganda, Madagascar and South Africa.
In the document, which he said has been forwarded to the Presidency through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), and also the Technical Committee on Cargo Tracking recently set up by the Federal Executive Council, Amiwero drew stakeholders’ attention to the fact that apart from countries in Europe, America, Asia and Middle East, cargo tracking has become fully operational in fifteen Africa countries for the past seven years, urging that Nigeria should likewise adopt and fully implement the scheme because of its gains in terms of security, safety and revenue.
â€œGhana introduced cargo tracking operation in 2007, Cameroon instituted electronic cargo tracking note (ECTN) in 2006, Cote Dâ€™Ivoire 2005, Benin 2003, Togo 2005, Republic of Congo 2008, etc,â€ he said.
Amiwero attributed surge in the adoption of the scheme globally to the aftermath of September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the world trade centre in the United States of America.
â€œPrior to 9/11, customs authorities were responsible for the clearance of imported goods at destination; the event of 9/11 precipitated a change in cargo inspection based on security.
The cargo security programme developed after 9/11 emphasized on provision of advance information of the shipment of goods to the importing country, which is a new protocol for tracking and screening of cargo both from the country of origin to destination, which was adopted globally due to security threats on the supply chain,â€ he stated.
TheÂ respected freight forwarder pointed out that based on this, the new protocol in the global trend that was incorporated into international framework precipitated a change from inbound inspection and monitoring of cargo to outbound; that is cargo tracking and screening; such as those under the World Customs Organisation (WCO) safety framework for container Security and International Ship and Port Facility code (ISPS).
He noted that most member countries of WCO under the safety framework and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) have adopted tracking of cargo and screening of their import and export trade.
â€œTracking offers benefit to both private and public sectors, allowing for real-time visibility of goods and the ability to receive advanced information regarding cargo and security status.
â€œCargo tracking ensures goods reach their destination in the same condition as they began their journey, it improves the ability to monitor the flow of goods to and fro the port, increase security by providing information on the movement of the cargo throughout the international trade environmentâ€, he added.
Amiwero stated that only importers with a track record of shady deals are opposed to the implementation of the scheme.