Shippers’ Council unveils online registration portal to eliminate faceless operators
By Okezie Nnadi
The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) said its online portal for registration of regulated port service providers and users would eliminate faceless stakeholders in the port.
The Executive Secretary, NSC, Emmanuel Jime, said this while unveiling the registration portal in Lagos.
The portal automates the submission and processing of applications for registration as well as issuance of registration certificate in real time.
The regulated ports service providers and users include: government agency, barge operators, chandlers, freight forwarders, clearing agents, handlers/truckers, stevedores/warehousing, seaport terminal operators and others.
The fee structure which ranges from N10,000 to N50,000 is paid yearly. The shippers council also reserves the right to review the fees from time to time.
According to Jime, today’s unveiling marks a milestone as the council upgraded from manual registration to fully automated platform.
“The platform we are launching is interactive in nature as physical interface is eliminated.
“From desk in your office, you can register your company online without visiting the council office as long as you fulfill the requirements and make the necessary payment.
The registration exercise is in various categories and attracts a token fee as the motive is not to generate revenue.
“It is mandatory for all service providers to register and obtain a certificate of registration before they can be adjudged as legally operating in the port,” he said.
He pointed out that it was therefore, important to register with the Nigerian Shippers’ Council to avoid applicable sanctions
He noted that registration provides the economic regulator with a database of service providers that are genuine, as well as shippers and all the stakeholders operating in the port system.
“This will enable the industry to operate in a safe, secure business environment and eliminate the challenges of faceless stakeholders in the port system.
“In the course of the presentation, more insight will be made available on how to access the portal and other necessary tips required to ensure a hitch-free registration,” he said.
Discussion on portal benefits, Cajethan Agu, Director, Consumer Affairs Department, NSC, noted that the council as port economic regulator registers port users as provided in its Act.
According to him, to this effect, registration with the council is mere compliance with the law.
“Secondly, as banks go around getting information about their customers which they call Know Your Customers (KYC), as regulators, we are supposed to know people operating at the port.
“In the past, we used to hear about faceless shippers based on information, so when all operators are registered, this will be a thing of the past,” he said.
On other benefits, Agu said that the council offers capacity building and enlightenment programme for stakeholders, a robust complaint handling unit, advocacy services for dispute resolution and others.
He, however, noted that unregistered operators would not enjoy these benefits.
He listed some of the sanctions for non-compliance as cancellation of license to operate at Nigerian ports, blacklisting defaulters, fines, among others.