By Lucy Ogalue
The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has reiterated the importance of the Status of Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL convention) to the Union of African Shippers Council (UASC) members.
Mr Hassan Bello, the Executive Secretary of NSC, said this at the UASC Sub-Regional Sensitisation workshop and Joint Committee Meeting on Tuesday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that FAL Convention is a remedial instrument aimed at facilitating maritime traffic.
According to Bello, the domestication and implementation of the FAL Convention in the member states will prevent unnecessary delays in maritime traffic.
“It aids cooperation between governments, secure highest practicable degree of uniformity in formalities and other procedures and has reduced the number of declarations required by public authorities.
“The sub-region must not lag behind in making our ports user friendly and attractive to international trade.
“Therefore, we need to work assiduously to ensure that necessary measures are put in place to reap the full benefits of the FAL convention by improving service delivery at our ports.
“More so, concrete actions will greatly minimise delays and reduce cost of doing business in the region,” Bello added.
Bello, however, explained that for the FAL Convention to be effectively implemented there was need for domestic legislation to give effect to the provisions.
He said that it was important to pay close attention to the global Sulphur limit in fuel oil regulation, as this could lead to increase in freight rates with majority of the cost being passed on to consumers.
“It is estimated that the total impact to consumers’ wallets in 2020 could be around 240 billion dollars.
“As a result of varying cost factors, shippers will be forced to make a choice about how to stay competitive.
“As we are all aware, freight rates to the sub-region are relatively high compared to other parts of the world due to low vessel ownership in the sub-region.
“The resource persons and panellists will chart a path toward formulating suitable strategies that will conveniently address the challenges hindering the efficient service delivery and competiveness at our ports.”
The executive secretary urged all participants to brainstorm and make meaningful contributions that would help in the FAL Convention implementation.
He also urged for recommendations that would enhance competition and efficiency at the various ports. (NAN)