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FG affirms commitment to reduce shipping cost

The Federal Government on Monday affirmed its
commitment toward reducing cost of shipping to boost trade in Africa.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo made this known at the ongoing  Sub-Regional Summit on Unfair Shipping Surcharges and High Local Shipping
Charges at the Ports of West and Central Africa in Abuja.
Osinbajo, represented by the Minister of Transport,
Rotimi Amaechi said Federal Government was aware of the disturbing cost of
transportation of goods through the ports in the sub-region due to freight
rates and arbitrary imposed surcharges.

He said that the government was equally mindful that
member-states of the Union of African Shippers Council (UASC) were concerned of
the lack of consultation, timing and structure of these surcharges.

The vice president said the aim of the summit was to
adopt a common position on how to reduce the incidences of unfair surcharges
and related issues.
He said that government through the Nigerian Shippers’
Council (NSC) had put in place machinery to address some of these challenges
posed by high cost of doing business in the country.
“There is need for West and Central African countries
to come together and adopt common political diplomatic and operational
strategies that will positively impact on economy of the sub-region.
“This can be done through the constitution of a
standing group of experts to represent the sub-region and engage ship owners on
surcharges and related issues.
“Nigeria will not hesitate to take appropriate measures
including legislation to check these unfair trade practices.
“And I affirm the commitment of government to adopt the
resolutions reached at this meeting and our determination to implement them to
reduce cost of doing business, boost trade and develop the sub-region,” he
Meanwhile, the minister in his address reiterated the
need for the UASC member states to collaborate to check activities of shipping
lines servicing the ports in the sub-region.
Amaechi also stressed the need for a direct
consultation with the ship owners rather than use of third parties to reduce
“The Federal
Government through the NSC has been using its influence in the Global Shippers’
Forum (GSF) to resolve cases affecting Nigeria’s trading interest,” Amaechi
Mr Hassan Bello, the Executive Secretary of NSC, while
reiterating the importance of collaboration between UASC member states, said
NSC had been engaging Nigeria’s shipping lines on reduction of shipping
According to him, reduction of cost is the
responsibility of all stakeholders including the government in ensuring the
provision of modern, efficient, integrated and connected transport
“It is also important that government encourages
transparent processes and procedures and generally ensure that an efficient,
competitive and friendly environment is created.
 “It is important
to state that in the long run, arbitrary and unilateral increase in charges
will not benefit operations or general procedures in our countries. 
should be appropriately priced with the aim of providing balance and
equilibrium,’’ Bello added. (NAN)

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