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Group rejects NASS legislation to scrap Nigerian Shippers’ Council Act in place of new agency 

Group rejects NASS legislation to scrap Nigerian Shippers' Council Act in place of new agency 

 

The Maritime Advocacy Foundation (MAF) has rejected moves by the National Assembly to repeal the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) Act (Cap.133 LFN 2004) in place of a new Agency.

The group in a press statement mande available to our correspondent by Fwdr Dr Eugene Nweke, the group’s Head of Publicity, stated that House of Representatives, Committee on Shipping Services has slated a public hearing for Monday 27th May, 2024, holding at the conference hearing room 034 aimed at repealing the Nigerian Shippers’ Council Act (Cap.133 LFN 2004) in place of a new Agency.

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MAF explained that the role of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council as globally recognised, include trade, financial exchange and transport initiations and whose acts and activities booster global transport activities and sustains economy of nations.

The group of maritime stakeholders therefore called on the lawmakers to stop what it referred to as undue disregard and negation of the Nigerian Shippers’ via a legislation.

“As a way of establishing a background to this subject, we wish to state clearly that, globally the shippers are referenced as trade, financial exchange and transport INITIATORS whose acts and activities booster global transport activities and sustains economy of nations.

“Without sounding immodest, the shipper has been tagged as the proverbial HEN THAT LAY THE GOLDEN EGGS IN TRANSPORTATION.

 

“Shippers are the reasons Job creation thrives evenly across globe. The nomenclature known as import and export data are purely the making of the shippers.

 

“By global recognition, international conventions have been severally reviewed to cushion the transport intricacies between the ship owner(shipping lines) and cargo owner ( shippers). The established slogan of the World Trade Organizationis is to the effect that trade has become the instrument of promoting global peace not just economic activities. In this regards, the respect and interests of the shippers is paramount.

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“It is on record that, without the shippers no freight markets and without freight markets no transport activities across modes.

 

“Permit us to state in specific terms that, apart from the provisions of the shippers rights in the Marine Insurance Act of 1909, three principal international surface transport conventions have evolved over the decades to streamline interests between the ship owner and cargo owner. These are: The Hague and Hague- Visby Rules and Hamburg Rules to cover all forms of sea transport, the Contract of international carriage of goods by Road – CMR Convention for road transport and the Convention Relative Aux Transports International Ferroviares – CIM/COTIF Convention for rail transport.

 

“In essence, this conventions address the shippers’ scope of documentary requirements, application, obligations, rights, compensation, insurances, liabilities, etc.

 

“Equally, we wish to state here that, in the global placement while the World Shipping Council(WSC) focuses on issues affecting the liner shipping industry, it’s also redirecting its focus on ways to improve maritime security and support the establishment of a global environmental standards for the shipping industry, similarly, the Universal Shippers Council (USC)focuses on issues affecting shippers across international frontiers, especially protecting both their rights, cargo and financial investment/transaction interests, etc.’

Explaining the functions of the Council, MAF added, “Shippers Council in other We
st and Central African countries involves in cargo sharing, which is not the case in our dear Country, rather our Shippers Council takes care of Shippers’ interests.

 

“The Decree of 1978 clearly focused on the protection of shippers interests in Nigeria. This decree today is represented as Nigerian Shippers Council Act ( Cap. 133 LFN 2004).

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“Ten years after, in a further reactions of the government, it evolved a National Shipping Policy Decree of 1987, which focuses on the protection of ship owners interests in Nigeria.

“The Maritime stakeholders then find the two decrees as complimentary and supplementary to each other.

“In 1988, the monopolists went shopping for a supplant of the Shippers Council Act, and a certain publication was sponsored and published in African Maritime Economist of October, 1988, where it canvassed that, “If the Nigerian Shippers Council decree of 1978 was the first legislative reactions of the Nigeria Government to the Code in Nigeria, then the National Shipping policy decree of 1987 has to be seen as a second reactions of government..” invariably suggesting or stating in a subtle manner that, decree 1987 repeals decree 1978.

“Today, in 2024 ( 36 years after) the same armies of occupation ( aka agents of liberal economies)are tacitly propagating for a repeal of the Nigerian Shippers Council and by extension expressing their long bitterness cum mix feelings against the Nigeria shippers.

“Having said this, the Maritime Advocacy Foundation , wishes to categorically state that, It will be against the spirit of *renewed hope* mantra of the present administration to create a Marine and Blue Economy Ministry out of the Transport Ministry without a corresponding establishment to specifically protect the interest of the Nigerian Shippers in the whole transport industry. To say the least, the move to repeal the Nigerian Shippers Council Act ( Cap. 133 LFN 2004) is a deliberate insult to the wisdom of our nation’s founding fathers.

“We therefore, call on the Honorable Ministers of transportation and marine & blue economy to boldly save the interests of our shippers who had over the years sustained job creation in the country in addition to their contributions in revenue generation for budgetary objectives.

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Now let’s take you through the:

OVER VIEW OF IMPORTANCE OF SHIPPERS COUNCIL IN THE NATIONAL TRANSPORT INDUSTRY.

From informed and available research works, a nation’s shippers council functions to ensure it provides for and protects the interests of its national shippers from:

a). Protection against unfair trade, unfair competitions and bad business practices.

b). Help at maintaining economic and trading stability, offering advisory and recommendations on informed trade realities and statistics to other relevant agencies.

c). Evaluate trading climates and proffer solutions and

remedying market failures, protecting the environment and proffer an economic management idealism.

d). Ensuring that infrastructural services are delivered efficiently to the shippers, on the basis of fair competition and satisfactory delivery services to the shippers by the logistics services providers.

e).Identifying the least factors impeding cost of production and quality services in the chain. it also ensures the identification of suitable services that shippers want or required in every sub chains.

f). Possessing a legislative oversight jurisdiction to monitors and enforces compliance by other agencies via prompt consultation and professional engagements.

g). Offer advice and information of general character on duties. collect, analyze and publish trade related activities statistics, data and forward recommendations and position statements to the appropriate agency & quarters for the purpose of upholding compliance and thus protecting the interest of the shippers.

These objectives, among others, are what the Nigerian Shippers Council has kept fate with, for over 36 years.

And today, the best form of appreciation, is to repeal its Act for some undisclosed intents.

Ladies and gentlemen of the press, ours is a solicitation and a call on you all, to please join us in resisting this clandestine move to repeal the Nigerian Shippers Council Act ( Cap 133 LFN 2004), and by extension support calls to protect our ever hard working and innovative Nigeria shippers like other countries does. Let’s counteract the activities of the army of occupation in high places.”

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