Maritime stakeholders to brainstorm on cargo handling charges
All is set for a one-day town hall meeting on “Cargo Handling and Port Charges” scheduled to hold in Lagos, to evaluate the state of port operations, quality of services and the factors that determine appropriate cargo handling charges.
This Followed a recent audit report that revealed that private terminal operators in Nigerian ports lost about N58.9 billion to the rising foreign exchange scarcity, Consumer Price Index (CPI), and others, in eight years,
The town hall scheduled for March 8, will be chaired by the Minister of Transportation and former governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and will feature stakeholders in the nation’s maritime industry.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, and her Industry, Trade and Investment counterpart, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, are also expected as special guests of honour.
Among the issues to be discussed are: the level of competitiveness of Nigerian ports, templates for port pricing; availability and efficiency of cargo handling equipment; impact of foreign exchange and government’s fiscal policies; and abuse of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) Protocol by shippers.
A statement by the organisers of the town hall meeting, noted that since the concession of the ports to private terminal operators over 10 years ago, Nigeria’s economy has undergone fundamental changes characterised by exchange rate vagaries and fiscal policy reviews.
These, they said, “have impacted substantially on the level of service delivery at the ports.“Importers, manufacturers and other port users alongside service providers have a lot of outstanding issues the failure of which to resolve have affected the growth of the industry. These will be addressed at the town hall with policy makers and users of shipping services all poised to make their case,” the statement said.
Also expected as discussants and lead presenters are private terminal operators, shipping agencies, chambers of commerce, trade groups, freight forwarders and banks. Others are statutory agencies, including the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian Shippers Council, Nigeria Customs Service, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) as well as marine transport committees of both arms of the National Assembly.