‘Cargo Tracking Note Should Be At No Cost To Importers’

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A former President of Shippers’ Association of Lagos State (SALS), Rev. Jonathan Nicole, has warned the federal government to ensure that the implementation of the Cargo Tracking Note (CTN), should be at no cost to Importers.

LEADERSHIP reports that on Feb. 15, the Federal Executive Council approved the installation of Electronic Cargo Tracking Notes for seaports nationwide.

The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo, said the scheme will tackle several challenges, such as the under-declaration, concealment and wrong classification of important cargo by importers.

But, speaking to newsmen in Lagos, Nicole who commended the policy, noted that the only difference with the CTN was the financial implication.

According to Nicole, the Cargo Tracking Note, directly related to shippers, is a document like the Bill of Lading of a vessel that shows the details of what is declared and acts like a cargo manifest with complete details of what the importer is shipping.

He added that it shows quality, quantity and costs and could actually replace so many other shipping documents that it would render worthless, such as the Standards Organisation of Nigeria Conformity Assessment Programme (SONCAP).

He noted that in the early 80s, the cargo tracking note was one of the document that they had from shippers council as part of document for clearing but it was free.

“We are one of the supporters of the note because we were fed up with the under declaration and customs queries and others. We pushed it and supported NSC and when the shippers council said that the fee will be paid by the shipping lines, we were happy.

“Initially, it is the shipping lines that should pay for the issuance of the CTN documents from the excess fees paid by shippers during shipments. For instance, if the freight forwarders charges far and above transport of the cargo from the manufacturer to the ship. The excess fee is what the council is asking as refund. That’s sums up the CTN charges,” he said.

Nicole added that the council did not consider the shippers to give a percentage so that they could run their own business seamlessly but paid everything into a fund.

“We are saying that they should take it easy in introducing the cargo tracking note, so that it does not add to the cost of doing business in the port,” he said.

He said like the Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa (MOWCA) charges, which fee ought to have been paid by shipping lines, they would pay 0.1 per cent fees to help develop shipping in two regions.

“They started in 2006, they only paid their fees for one year. At the end of the day, the bill was pushed to the shippers and we were paying hundred of billions of naira.

“Where is the MOWCA fee for the development of shipping, if you add that money to the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), we will not be talking about no money to fund our vessels at all.

“These are the problems that need to be addressed, we are not against government, we are trying to see how we can help government to do it right. And ones we are able to do it right, everything will fall in place,” he said.

He urged government not to only look at how much they would bring, but should consider how well it would work with the general public.

“The concept is good in a sane society. Why is it that when we introduce new system, it creates problems for people,” he queried.


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