The Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) has warned that non-registered port users will be denied access to the ports and border areas to do their legitimate freight forwarding business.
CRFFN Governing Board Chairman, Mr. Abubakar Tsanni revealed this in Lagos yesterday while engaging executives of Importers Association of Nigeria (IMAN).
According to the CRFFN Chairman, the Council has initiated a move to register all associations and individuals that do business at the ports and border points to reduce the influx of quacks and miscreants at ports and border points.
His words: “CRFFN is the only regulator that deals with associations at the ports. By December, any association that doesn’t register with CRFFN wouldn’t have an opportunity to carry out its business at the ports. The idea is to know the operators and prevent miscreants from accessing the ports. CRFFN has a committee responsible for the registration of associations and individuals that will be given identity cards to enable them access the ports. Quacks and all those involved in illegal activities will not have access to the ports.”
Tsanni, however, observed that identification with CRFFN will avail associations and their members a viable platform for dispute resolution and trade infractions by any government agency or company in the sector.
According to him, a Freight Forwarders Consultative Forum has been setup by CRFFN with national and chapter executives of registered associations drafted in, while representatives of key agencies and associations will also be included.
He noted that the consultative forum would collate all problems in the freight forwarding and supply chain system and engage the Transport Ministry on areas in dire need of intervention, adding that the Ministry would engage other Ministries and the Presidency depending on the degree of the challenge.
Expressing dissatisfaction that foreigners have been doing freight forwarding business in Nigeria even as other shipping lines have exploited freight forwarders and importers with arbitrary charges, he encouraged Nigerian importers to support the CRFFN and its goals to correct this anomaly.
Although he observed that the introduction of Practitioners Operating Fees (POF) has been resisted by some importers and freight agents, Tsanni said that the POF would enable CRFFN fund the training of agents and importers.
Speaking on behalf of IMAN, the Deputy President, Chief Simon Ezeji expressed optimism that CRFFN will play a prominent role for importers, however, he demanded that 10% of the POF revenue collected by CRFFN should be allocated to importers who engaged the freight agents.
“In August 2015, IMAN endorsed the collection of POF as approved by the Federal Government of Nigeria in the interest of businesses of the Nigerian importers. It is a fact that the financial gain into the coffers of the CRFFN, via container fees, general cargoes and vehicles paid by importers and freight forwarders (proxies) as the declarant has rendered the IMAN) moribund and at the best invalid before the eyes of our members we suppose to protect.”
“We are therefore requesting you sir and members of your governing council to give us 10% of your total POF collection from the ports and border stations with effect from July 2022. We are conversant with what is happening in other countries with regards to your regulatory operations and freight forwarding profession. We thank you for the proper training and re-training of freight forwarders that are equally our mandate to take care of their welfare,” he said.
However, the group noted that challenges associated with CRFFN will be minimized through sensitization, dialogue and effective dissemination of information.