Lagos – The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) on Friday said it would collaborate with the Sierra Leone Maritime Administration to establish the Sierra Leonean Shippers’ Council.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Executive Council of the NSC, Mr Hassan Bello, stated this while receiving a delegation of the Sierra Leone Maritime Administration at the Council’s Headquarters’ in Lagos.
Bello said that the collaboration would enable both countries to discuss on shipping issues with the hope of strengthening African shipping operations.
He said that NSC had been collaborating with the Nigerian Export Import Bank (NEXIM) to start with two ships and trade on export products within the West Central Africa sub-region.
The executive secretary said that the partnership with NEXIM was to create shipping link in the regional trade.
He said that Nigeria was an import-dependent nation, adding that there was need to look inwards on exportation to diversify the economy and regulate the cost of doing business.
Bello said that NSC was established in 1978, adding that there was need for Inter -African trade to enable African countries to deliberate on terms of trade.
“If you have a shippers’ council, it is important to have cargo owners in your country because it will assist the establishment of the council.
“We will be inviting you to our seminars to enable you to understand the operations of shippers’ councils.
“I have already invited the Chief Judge of Sierra Leone to attend Maritime Seminar for Judges slated to hold on May 31 and to also assist your legal department on how to attend to shipping-related issues,’’ Bello said.
He said that the Seminar for Judges had been assisting Nigerian lawyers to be familiar with admiralty laws, adding that it had been fast tracking maritime cases at the courts.
Bello said that the NSC, being the Port Economic Regulator, would be focusing on provision of modern infrastructure to facilitate trade at the ports.
He said that before now, truck drivers usually parked indiscriminately on major highways without regulating them, which brought about delays in delivering consignments to owners.
Bello said that the Truck Transit Parks being constructed by the NSC would enable trucks and tanker drivers to operate in a conducive atmosphere and improve their efficiency.
He said that both countries would be exchanging workforce for capacity building in order to be more equipped in shipping operations.
Speaking earlier, the Chairman Board of Sierra Leone Maritime Administration, Mr Lansana Dumnuya, said that Nigeria had been supporting Sierra Leone for many years.
Dumnuya said that the nation was having serious challenges with shipping operations and regulating the stakeholders.
He urged the NSC to assist the country in putting up a formidable Shippers’ association.
“I know that we cannot understand all the operations at once but within a short while, we will be putting things in right order.
“We discovered that only Nigeria and Ghana are operating Standard Shippers’ Councils and we will like to emulate this in our country,’’ he said.
Dumnuya said that he would appreciate if NSC could give Sierra Leone the maximum technical cooperation, adding that the government would back it up with political will.
“Sierra Leone is having problem with shippers and there is no Shippers’ Council to regulate them in our country.
“This has made shipping difficult in our country, we want to see African ship-owners own ship that will carry African flag.
“We want Shippers’ association to be established in our country to boost shipping operations and create more income for the country,’’ NAN quotes Dumnuya as saying.
He, however, said that shipping was a big business, adding that if Sierra Leone was able to get information from NSC, it would solve the problem the country was having presently.
The Executive Director, Sierra Leone Maritime Administration, Alhaji Wurroh Jalloh, commended the NSC’s readiness to exchange ideas with the delegation in the area of shipping operations.
He said that there was shipping department in Sierra Leone, saying that with the support of the NSC, the country would be able to create more departments and understand modern trends in shipping.
Jalloh, however, sought more collaboration with the NSC for Sierra Leone to overcome its present challenges in shipping operations. (NAN)