The Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Mr Emmanuel Jime, has inaugurated a committee of experts to help tackle high shipping cost within the Africa sub-region.
Jime inaugurated the committee at the Committee of Experts Meeting/ Expanded Standing Committee Meeting and Mini-Sensitisation Workshop on African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) in Abuja on Wednesday.
He urged the members to bring in their expertise to enable the sub region tackle the high cost of shipping which has posed as a major challenge to the people.
”Let me say a big welcome to all of us. I also like to appreciate all of us for our active participation in the meeting.
”May I remind us that the purpose of setting up this committees is to harmonise first and foremost the transport cost in the sub region and to ensure that all element of cost relating to sharp corrupt practices are eliminated.
”By definition, the committee of experts is supposed to be constituted by one member of the following council members Nigeria, Angola, Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Niger, Senegal and Togo.
”It is because of the important nature of this assignment that this committee was formed.
”So it is my singular honour to formally inaugurate members of this committee,” he said.
The committee is expected to review the cost structure for various charges applicable in West and Central Africa.
The outcome of the committee’s work will be used as a basis for shipping lines operating within the West and Central Africa ports.
The Secretary-General, Nigeria Shippers Association, Mrs Ijeoma Ezeasor, expressed optimism that the cost of shipping within Nigeria would be reduced following the inauguration of the committee.
She said: “We are expectant at the end of this two days’ event that the cost of shipping within Nigeria and the region will definitely change to a better outcome.
“Gladly the Executive Secretary and the CEO, Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) understands the pains of the shippers within Nigeria and the region.
”We are hopeful that at the end of this meeting, there would be reasonable outcomes in terms of decrease in cost and also better communication for shippers by the service providers.
‘‘The communications come too short, too sudden and also make us not to be able to plan for our future.
”So, we are hopeful that things will change for the better going forward.”
A delegate, Mr John-Patrick Ndume from Cote d’Ivoire, restated the need for a collaborative effort between member states to tackle the increased cost of shipping.
” What I can say is that the union have to try to make all the members to come together to face new challenges in particular the challenges for the new economic area in Africa.
”It is when we come together, join our efforts together that we can face the challenges which all of us are having,” he said.
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Also Mr Sebastien Ilboudo, Director-General, Burkina Faso Shipping Council, also reiterated the importance of collaboration between member states.
“We should work to strengthen UASC, it is very important. And we are really intent on bringing in our contribution so that this committee will be really operational because that is where we are having our hopes as shipper’s council.
“The costs are enormous, very high and we think that together with all the other shippers’ council, we must actually work to reduce this cost and of cause eliminate the suffering of our economic operators on the various corridors.
“I like to sincerely thank the Nigerian Shippers council for this initiative especially.
“I do hope it will not be the last in the spirit, because it is Nigeria that is chairing this committee and that the meeting will be regular so as to provide something that is tangible for the UASC so as to defend all the other shippers’ council and African shippers.