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Stakeholders Seek Probe Of Foreign Shipping Licence Fees

Maritime Experts Call On Federal Government To Probe Allegations That Foreigners Are Being Issued Customs Licence To Operate Freight Forwarding In The Country.

Taiwo Hassan

Maritime experts have called on the Federal Government to probe the allegations the industry that foreigners are being issued customs licence to operate freight forwarding in the country at the detriment of Nigerians. Founder, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) Dr. Boniface Aniebonam made this revelation at the Association of Igbo Maritime Practitioners in Nigeria (PTML )’s one day practical workshop for practicing clearing agents in the country in Lagos, yesterday that it is time for government to conduct an independent investigation into the matter for the sake of not mortgaging the country’s maritime sector in the future to the hands of foreigners.

According to him, it is sad to note that licensing of clearing and forwarding at the country’s gateways are gradually being taken over by foreigners who are now coming to register their companies and put the names of Nigerians at the helm of affairs to disguise as if they are not the owners of the companies. Aniegbulam said that foreign dominance of the country’s maritime industry could act as an impediment to the growth of the industry.

He called on Nigerians in the industry to be of professionalism and invest in themselves especially in the area of capacity building. “Yes, foreigners are taking over our jobs in this industry without any serious check on them. They are now getting licence for clearing and forwarding and hide under the pretence by pretending to bring a small boy on board whereas, they are the owners of the companies.

I believe government must look into this matter for the sake of safeguarding Nigerians in the sector.” Similarly, the Chairman of Association of Igbo Maritime Practitioners In Nigeria, Ifeanyi Aniezechukwu, stressed that the only way Nigerian freight forwarders can compete with their counterparts in the developed countries is to get proper knowledge of shipping instruments used in international trade.

Aniezechukwu in his opening remark at the event said that manpower development is necessary in the industry if Nigeria has the desire to attain growth in her maritime sector and harness its untapped potential. According to him, the capacity workshop is so timing as it is coming on the heels of recent news that Shipping freight rates on the world’s busiest route, from Asia to Northern Europe, has falling by the largest percentage amount since 2008, reflecting wild volatility in the market as vessel operators continue to wrestle with overcapacity.

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