Dr. Eugene Nweke making his point at the workshop.
Story by Dili Utomi.
The various operators in the Maritime sector know that the major ingredients sought in every port operation are predictability and efficiency and that in order to get these ingredients there ought be certain levels of synergy among the various entities within the sector. These and more were the reasons tendered for the 100% Compliance team of the National Association Of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) putting together a two day workshop titled “Sustainable Synergy With The Customs, Shipping Companies, Terminal Operators and Freight Forwarders”.
Participants listening to a presentation at the event.
The workshop which took place at the main hall of the Rockview Hotel Apapa, Lagos provided a veritable opportunity for the various participants to air their views and proffer solutions to the various challenges that are inimical to the efficient operations at the Ports .
The workshop though coincided with the visit of the minister of state for transportation, Gbemisola Saraki, the already planned event nonetheless commenced with a lot of the invited operators missing in action.
The chief organiser of the event, Tanko Ibrahim.
The chief host of the event was Mr. Tanko Ibrahim, the national coordinator of the 100% Compliance team and in his opening remarks, he said that part of the major reasons why the workshop was organised was because there had been an ongoing rift between freight forwarders and the shipping companies and terminal operators and there was the urge on the part of the freight forwarders to embark on industrial action to press home their demands for better operational efficiency at the ports, but the strike option was shelved because of the fear of it being highjacked by miscreants. Therefore a platform where they will all meet to talk to themselves eyeball to eyeball was was agreed upon, hence this workshop.
The chairman of the occassion who was also a major speaker at the workshop, Dr. Eugene Nweke in his own opening speech commended the organisers for putting together the workshop and opined that synergy is like a chain that pulls everybody together and that because there seems to be less synergy in the Ports environment, the need for this workshop became critical. Dr Nweke asked a rhetorical question, what are the critical indicators that prove that a port is efficiently run? He added that the workshop was meant to find ways of harmonising all the potentials to meet the well known objectives. He also added that the port is a security environment that should always be seen to be meeting its purpose of being established.
Participants at the high table.
Chief Remi Ogungbe of the Association of Maritime Transport Owners in his goodwill message thanked the organisers for their thoughtfulness in putting the event together, in his words, it takes all the ten fingers to clap, really. A representative of Maersk Nigeria Limited, Nkechi said that all efforts though are always being put to address customers concerns, but that the workshop is an important channel to be used by everybody in understanding themselves a little bit more. A representative of the port manager of the Tin Can Port, Mrs. Victoria Bola Adigun said that the port cannot run itself and so workshops like this are needed to create the right kind of atmosphere for every operator.
There was an interactive session where most members aired their different experiences while trying to do their businesses as well as responses from the representative of the shipping company that was present.
In his paper presentation titled “Act to guard the economic characteristics of a port” Dr. Eugene Nweke opined that we must accept the fact that ports act as physical interchange for the trading community and as such, ports must act as efficient entities for the success of trade and to keep production at an optimal level”.
He said that the basic requirements for port efficiency should be put in place and that these include , a well organised container yard for storage, an efficient and accurate ship planning department to ensure proper stacking of containers, a computerised system for proper administration of the port, a highly trained workforce that work round the clock, a good road network, an efficient Customs system among others.
The representative of the Trucks Transit Park, the operators of the NPA/TTP transport software platform known as eto were on hand for the two day duration of the event and on the second day were able to also explain the way that their platform work and how it has helped in easing the well known gridlock that had characterised the traffic situation in and around the ports areas.
A communique was to be drafted and released at the end of the workshop.
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