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We want consolidation in freight forwarding business — Shippers Council boss
In this second part of our interview with the Executive Secretary/ Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Shippers Council, Hassan Bello, addresses the issues around POF, Port efficiency, trucking, cost and ease of doing business in the ports amongst others.
WE notice that the controversy surrounding the practitioners’ operating fee, POF, for freight forwarders is still persisting. What is Shippers Council’s position? Yes, there is a controversy because it should not be laid on cargo. It is the practitioners who should pay out of their pockets and if it is laid on cargo we are going to resist it.
So you don’t support it I support it as long as it is the practitioners that will pay. Any attempt that will make it to be laid on cargo or put it on the shippers then that will not be nice. And we are working to see that this is not done. There is nothing wrong with the freight forwarders; I have very soft spot for them because they are the agents of the shippers and sometimes even the shippers abroad. Let me say they are the link and they perform very important work in the shipment logistics chain, but they have to grow to be professionals. In fact I would rather they have trucks, they have warehouses, and so on and so forth. But it is also the function of the economy; if the economy is slow then they become mere local agents clearing goods from the ports. If the economy grows, then they become the actual freight forwarders, but they are doing a lot. But we can’t have 1000 freight forwarders, we cannot have that. There must be consolidation; I would like to specify share capital for their operations because they have to be big. It’s just like trucking companies, we cannot have every truck owner coming to port, there must be structured trucking companies; that is why when reforms come it will sweep many of them away.