By Chiazo Ogbolu
Lagos – The Nigerian International Maritime Ports and Terminals (NIMPORT) on Wednesday said that Single Window system would increase port efficiency and reduce freight clearance bottlenecks.
The NIMPORT Chairman, Mr Fortune Idu, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
Single Window is a trade facilitation idea which enables international (cross-border) traders to submit regulatory documents at a single location and/or single entity.
Idu said there should be transparency among agencies whose portal would be integrated on the single window, as this would bring about efficiency of information if offered in real time.
He described a single window as a portal for integrated administration of large enterprise that allows access to all the services the enterprise can offer through one channel.
“Single window allows for integration and possible computerisation processes and a single window for port activities will definitely increase port efficiency and reduce freight clearance bottlenecks.
“It eliminates multiple administration, duplication of functions and filling out numerous forms, eliminating multiple processing desks.
“This process not only saves time but improves overall delivery of services,” Idu said.
NAN reports that for the last five years, stakeholders in the maritime industry have been clamouring for the introduction of single window system in the sector.
The NIMPORT chairman pointed out that the introduction of single window would mean that all cargo clearance documentation would be remotely processed and through one portal.
He explained that the portal for single window port clearance should be domiciled within Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) or the commercial regulator, the Nigeria Shippers Council (NSC).
“The portal should include every port-to-customer related activity, integrating cargo tracking, custom clearance, export and import documentation, standards and billing.
“Effective single window is long needed for the port services. Though, the custom have their electronic portal, all should be integrated,” he said.
Idu listed some challenges which should be tackled to ensure smooth operations.
Such challenges include duplicating platforms of functions, disagreement among agencies, lack of collaboration and poor coordination.
“The biggest obstacle to effective single window corridor is corruption.
“To effectively implement a single window, all components must be electronic Information and Communication Technology-based and adopt a call centre approach where single window workers are remote.
“The call centre approach has to do with information interface to the public being managed from a call management and computer-based centre where information is processed with customer seeking them.
“This reduces physical interface and eliminates bribery,” Idu said.