The Managing Director Nigerian Ports Authority, (NPA) Hadiza Bala Usman, on Monday restated the need for all agencies of government to collaborate on the implementation of the Single Window cargo clearance regime in order to optimize its benefits for the nation’s economy and merchandise trade operators.

Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman
Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman

Usman, who pointed out that a smoother and faster clearance of cargo from the nation seaports, can only be achieved with the adoption of the policy, said that the NPA should not be blamed solely for lapses in cargo clearance in the nation’s seaport since it takes more than agency to see cargo out of the ports.”

According to her the greatest challenge in the seaports now is how to make all agencies that are directly involved in cargo clearance play their respective roles in collaboration with others.

Usman made these remarks in her lecture titled ‘Driving the Change Agenda through Freight Forwarding’ delivered as part of activities marking the 68th birthday anniversary of a former President of Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agent (ANCLA), Prince Olayiwola Shittu, in Lagos.

The NPA boss also called on freight forwarders to improve their operation through improved organization and capacity building initiatives to enable them operate in line with international best practices.

Specifically, she charged freight forwarders to play more effective roles in ports’ operations since the customer desires services that are quick, reliable and flexible.

In addition, she disclosed that the NPA had taken some steps aimed at improving the freight forwarding in the country in furtherance of its commitment to the implementation of Executive Order on Ease of Doing Business and meeting the expectations of global regulatory institutions on trade facilitation.

She listed some of the measures being undertaken by the authority as the launching of the provisional, final billing and customer portal module of Revenue Invoice Management System aimed at improving service delivery, partner relationship, create efficient payment method, maximize revenue and eradicate loss and revenue leakage.

Others are, the establishment of a Committee in collaboration with Nigerian Navy to address Apapa gridlock, Call Up system for trucks with shipping companies and achieved collaboration with the Nigeria Customs Service (NSC) to introduce the much awaited Single Window Platform and the establishment of an Inter-Ministerial Committees chaired by the Managing Director of NPA and co-chaired by the MD of Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC)

Usman stressed the need for cooperation from all stakeholders in the nation’s maritime sector, especially those involved in cargo clearance, so that the Nigeria can be respected as a responsible and standard-oriented player globally in port operations and management.

On the role of the Ports in the Landlord Model, the port management expert lamented that overtime there had been misconceptions about the role of the NPA in the port industry.

She explained: “In taking advantage of this auspicious occasion I wish to state that in the current concession regime, cargo operation has been ceded to terminal operators while the residual part of port operations still reside with the Port Authority.

These include pilotage, security, fire service and maintenance of common user areas. Since cargo handling has been ceded to the terminal operators, Freight Forwarders will find themselves interfacing with each other to clear goods.

“In the interim we have through our concession agreement been playing a regulatory role to check their excesses and the Government is in the process of perfecting the regulatory structure institutionally to make it more effective so that things like tariff that could possibly create exploitation by the terminal operators will be checked”, Usman added.