Fresh indications have emerged that about 12 years into the port reforms in Nigeria, the ports are still characterized by incessant delays in cargo clearance, increase in cost of transactions as well as human interfaces due to shipping companies refusal to embrace automation.
Out of the shipping companies operating in Nigeria, only two of them; Maersk Line and CMA CGM have made efforts to move away from manual process of operation.
Also, in a press release by the headquarters of Association of Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) last week, the group accused the shipping companies of benefiting so much from the manual processes, thereby, deliberately punishing their Nigerian customers.
The national Publicity Secretary of ANLCA; Mr. Joe Sanni who signed the press release alleged that the association had in 2013 charged the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ council, Mr. Hassan Bello on the need to address the challenge by ensuring shipping companies and their agencies to automate their processes with a view to eliminating delays.
He said it was however disappointing that five years after the calls, the shipping companies are yet to comply.
Shipping Position Daily recalls that the Nigerian Shippers’ Council in an attempt to correct some anomalies in the system was dragged to court by the shipping companies under the aegis of Association of Shipping Line Agencies (ASLA) and the Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) in 2014.
In the ANLCA statement, it noted that: “It is only Maersk Line that has continually automated all its registration, invoicing, payment processes. Why are all other players in the shipping and terminal operations not prepared to automate their processes? Are they benefiting so much from not automating, deliberately punishing their Nigerian customers or they don’t have the money to engage web Portal/website designers”?
“Why is this conspiracy of silence despite the several orders to these operators to automate their systems”, it added.
Mr. Joe Sanni also said that in a recent round table meeting with the Risk Management Director of CMA CGM shipping company, the company in an attempt to ameliorate the suffering of customers agreed for extension of its office closing time from 5:00pm – 6:00pm, more especially when the workload is much as witnessed towards weekend or public holidays.