June 19, 2024

NPA, NCS, Webb Fontaine Chart Roadmap for Port Community System

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NPA, NCS, Webb Fontaine Chart Roadmap for Port Community System

SYLVANUS EKPO
maritimevision@gmail.com

The Port Community System (PCS) which is being midwifed by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) came under the spotlight yesterday at a one-day Port Industry Town Hall Meeting held at the Rockview hotel, Apapa, Lagos.

The workshop started with a welcome address by the Convener, Mr. Ismail Aniemu, an industry veteran, who posited that the PCS had become necessary in view of its enormous role in changing the dynamics of port operations in the country. This was the fourth edition of the workshop.

In the first Paper presented by Comptroller Dera Nnadi, mni, he traced the history of migrations in cargo clearance from the heady days of the bill of lading to the present day where innovations have been introduced to fast track clearance purposes at the ports.

According to Controller Nnadi who represented the Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adeniyi, MFR, in those days, payments were delayed due to the manual nature of the exercise, office and bank closure at weekends all contributed to the lack of efficiency in cargo clearance.

He traced the many interventions of the Customs from the days of the Risk Assessment Report (RAR), the Pre- Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR), Destination Inspection and the use of Electronic Manifest, a key innovation.

He noted that between 1997-2017, so much had been achieved by the service to boost cargo clearance and trade facilitation, including pioneering the use of barges for clearing cargo.

The CGC noted that the importance of the PCS could not be overemphasized as ‘the Port is the heart of our revenue as over 80 per cent of Customs revenue is from the Lagos Ports’.

He noted that multiple paperwork among agencies at the port was clogging the clearance process, urging that such laws could be harmonized to create a seamless cargo clearance process.

He called for capacity building not only for top echelon of the service but others who work at the lower rungs of the ladder.

“If we keep data, we can analyze the future of trade”, he enthused.

He appealed to stakeholders to embrace container transfers to bonded terminals as this was also a way to fast track the cargo clearance process.

In a strategic move to reap the benefits of collaboration, Webb Fontaine and Starlink may join forces to strengthen Internet connectivity in Nigeria.

In his submission, the Managing Director of Webb Fontaine Nigeria Limited, Ope Babalola, said his company has begun moves to partner Starlink owned by Elon Musk for increased port efficiency through the use of faster and reliable internet connectivity.

Babalola disclosed that efforts are on to improve on port users experience with the server of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).

According to him, the company enjoys a cordial and robust relationship with the NCS and has always been committed in working for the success of the Customs through revenue collection and prevention of losses.

While delivering a paper on the Port Community System (PCS), Babalola lauded President Bola Tinubu’s moves to establish a National Single Window (NSW) is a step that will benefit the country in many ways.

He added that the PCS can run under the Single Window conveniently targeting port users primarily with a view to achieving better inclusion of all stakeholders in the ecosystem.

Babalola called on stakeholders to support the PCS initiative in order to boost port operations; and called for regular town hall meetings that will aid trade facilitation and seamless cargo clearance.

The Webb Fortaine boss affirmed that exporters should be encouraged to facilitate trade through seamless operations for cargo movement.

“Nigeria has so much trade data but we are not using it. Therefore there should be seamless collaboration between NPA and Customs to promote the Port Community System, PCS.

“This town hall meeting should be regular to create more awareness about what it’s all about.”

Chairman of the workshop and boss of the National Council of Managing Directors of Customs Licensed Agents, Lucky Amiwero applauded Webb Fortaine for a job well done in the cargo clearance process but urged it to do more.

He appealed to the management of the Nigeria Customs Service to engage in capacity building on cargo clearance procedures for its officers and men.

He reiterated the need for both the NPA and the Customs to work together to achieve the much-needed efficiency in the port environment.

There were goodwill messages from the Association of Nigeria Licenced Customs Agents (ANLCA), the NPA and the Secretary General of Maritime Organization of West and Central Africa (MOWCA), Dr. Paul Adalikwu.

The PCS is a community of people within the port who are keen on trade facilitation and cargo clearance leading to port efficiency and increased revenue and stakeholder satisfaction.

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