By Godfrey Bivbere
SHIPPING firms are concentrating their container charges on Nigerian shippers and their agents, referred to as Customs brokers, because their businesses and operations have been classified as unstructured.
It has also been gathered that firms that fall under this category include large conglomerates and multi-nationals involved in the shipping business.
Confirming this in a chat with Vanguard Maritime Report in his office, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, NSC, Hassan Bello, said the shipping companies do not collect container charges from the big companies because such firms are structured.
Bello noted that there is a need for indigenous firms to be structured to enable them to benefit from this privilege as well as other incentives given to structured outfits.
He said: “I am always giving the example of abolition of container deposits which we wanted to do but the shipping companies do not collect deposits from certain companies because they are well structured. If we want to abolish certain things we need a well-structured system and that is one of the things to be reformed.”
Bello who gave the same reason for the Council’s inability to regulate truckers, noted: “Trucking is very important, seventy per cent of the economy is based on trucking but what type of trucks do we have? And we want to re-fleet, but how can we re-fleet when the companies are not structured.
“You don’t need two thousand trucking companies, you need six trucking companies in Nigeria to do all these businesses and then you can apply laws to them. But as for these ones you wouldn’t even know where they are.”
He also attributed the same reason for the logistics sector. “Yes, we should be worried about Nigerians being unable to participate in some of the logistics. The whole thing is about the competition we need Nigerian companies to be structured to be able to do that.
“Why do we have 1000 clearing and forwarding companies when we can have six major ones and these six major forwarding companies should be able to be non-vessels common carriers so that they can even hire vessels, they have warehouses, they can transport large volumes of goods. We would like to have the same thing that is fleets, transportation and trucking,” he noted.