Tuesday, November 24, 2015 3:10 pm
A former Director-General, Government Inspector of Shipping, Mr Olu Akinsoji, says that imposing Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) charges might render Nigerian ports unattractive and trigger cargo diversion to neighbouring countries.
Akinsoji, the Acting Chairman, Society of Nigerian Mariners (SNM), made the assertion in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos.
NAN reports that CTN is being supervised by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC).
The marine engineer said the protests by maritime operators against CTN charges should be treated seriously.
He said: “Any rise in cost of shipping business is tantamount to squeezing the life out of the business of shipping in Nigeria’’.
Akinsoji described CTN as an instrument for facilitation of maritime traffic, safety and security of ships and a clear demonstration of sovereign protection of national cargo and sea-borne goods in transit.
“CTN is a unique practical expression linking the Nigerian government with cargo in transit from source to destination.
“It’s (CTN) an implied demonstration of jurisdictional responsibility for the safety and security of cargo.
“Given the level of global security risk, it is important to the world community that every nation that owns seaborne cargo demonstrates this responsibility,’’ he said.
Akinsoji said the expression of concerns and fear among organised members of the industry regarding the imposition of the CTN system was very genuine given the expected rise in transaction costs.
The former Nigerian Alternate Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) acknowledged the increasing volume of cargo generated by Nigeria into the world supply chain and particularly along the West African route.
He said the volume of goods was significant enough to attract the consistent interest of the global shipping practitioners.
“The essence of monitoring or tracking cargo designated for or emanating from Nigeria could be seen from the provisions of Safety of Life At Sea Convention 1974, which Nigeria made efforts to implement.
According to him, imports and exports which are the main stay activities are highly vulnerable; cargo bound for import or export can be diverted, pilfered, under-declared, swapped or used as a weapon of mass destruction.
“It is common knowledge that Nigeria has gone through and probably, still going through considerable economic losses from some fraudulent and inadequacies of carriage of goods by sea,’’ the mariner said.
He said that the CTN would increase Foreign Direct Investments, prevent dumping or diversion of cargoes and create room for efficient collection of government revenues.
“Many countries are operating the regime and are enjoying the benefits. The CTN will reduce corruption and promote security and integrity of cargo.
“The CTN is capable of achieving real time cargo tracking and monitoring solutions and provide verifiable national database for international sea-borne trade,’’ Akinsoji said.
He suggested that the development and experiences of other countries which had successfully implemented the CTN should be used as benchmark.
“By putting in place a sustainable CTN programme, Nigeria will be acting in conformity with international best practices in sea-borne cargo trade.