In a bid to create and maintain data of shippers and operators at the Onne Port, Rivers State, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, NSC, on Tuesday launched an online portal for the registration of all regulated port service providers and users at the port.
Speaking during the unveiling ceremony at Onne, Rivers State, the Executive Secretary/CEO of NSC, Barr. Pius Akutah, said the exercise was aimed at eliminating faceless shippers operating at the Port.
Akutah, who was represented at the event by the NSC Director, South-South explained that the registration will ensure seamless business platform for service providers and users at the Port.
“This is one of the series of sensitization exercises that the Council is organizing for service providers, users and other stakeholders in the sector on the need to register with the Council and benefits to be derived therefrom.
“The new portal is a milestone as we upgrade from manual registration to a fully automated registration platform.
“The platform is interactive in nature as physical interface is eliminated. From your desk in your office, you can register your company online without having to visit any Council office as long as you fulfill the requirements and make the necessary payments.
“The registration exercise is in various categories and attracts a token fee as the motive is not to generate revenue but to meet the administrative charge of running the platform, among others.”
Mr. Akutah said shippers and port operators who fail to comply with the registration would be sanctioned.
“The exercise is mandatory for all service providers and users to register and obtain a certificate of registration before they can be adjudged as legally operating at the nation’s seaports. It is therefore important to register with the NSC to avoid being sanctioned.
“The Registration provides the Economic Regulator (NSC) a database of service providers as well as genuine shippers and other stakeholders operating in the port system. This will enable the industry practitioners transact their business and operate in a safe and secure business environment. As well as sanitizing the ports, it will help to eliminate the challenges of faceless shippers in the port system.
“We have made the portal user friendly, however, in the course of the presentations to follow, more insights will be made available on how to access the platform and other necessary tips required to ensure a hitch – free registration,” he said.
Earlier in his address, Director South-South Zone of NSC, Mr. Glory Onojedo said the launching of the portal and presentation of the guidelines to participants will take shippers through a seamless process of registration on the electronic portal and make the Port competitive.
He said, “As you are all aware, the Port as a critical infrastructure needs to be competitive, to guard against monopoly and free for potential players to enter and exit in order for its users to enjoy the benefit of competitive pricing and efficient service delivery.
“It is against this back drop, that the Federal Government of
Nigeria, pursuant to the Nigerian Shippers Council Act Cap
N133LFN 2004 appointed the NSC as Ports Economic Regulator.
“The aim is to create an effective regulatory regime at Nigerian ports for the control of tariffs, rates, charges and other related economic services.”
Onojedo added that the NSC in the performance of it’s mandate, developed and implemented a strategic plan for implementation of the process which included; cost moderating exercise by constant engagement with service providers to ensure that tariffs and charges are tied to services rendered.
He noted that machineries for monitoring compliance of users with set standards, as well as compliant resolution mechanism to address and attend to complaints from service providers and users have been established.
Speaking with Journalists shortly after the event, the Chairman, Export and Import Trade Group of Port Harcourt Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mine and Agriculture, PHACCIMA, Prince Chukwuemeka Amanze, described the exercise as a welcomed development.
He said, “As operators and users of the Port, we need to know who is who and exactly what we do. Also Shippers Council being the regulator also need to know those using the Port.”