1 February 2010

Nigeria: Cargo Tracking Note is At No Cost to Shippers - NPA

Lagos — Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) says the newly-introduced Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) will not add to the cost of doing business in the Nigerian ports.

Musa Iliya, Assistant General Manager, Public Affairs Unit of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) said in Lagos at the weekend that the CTN fee or charges had been an integral part of cargo freight.

According to Iliya, there is no additional cost on cargo tracking as everything is paid for right from the port of origin but shipping agents have over the years been collecting the monies and never remitted them. If the NPA image maker's statement is anything to go by, it means that foreign shipping agents have all these while been collecting what is due to Nigeria, without anybody raising eyebrow about it. Illiya did not disclose why the Ports Authority had been looking the other way while those foreign companies feast on revenue due to the country.

Meanwhile, Illiya has disclosed that a technical committee which will look into ways of ensuring that the newly-introduced CTN scheme does not add to port costs and bureaucracy in the nation's seaports has been constituted.'

He said the management of NPA had held several meetings on the CTN with the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), the Shipping Association of Nigeria (SAN) as well as the clearing and forwarding group.

Iliya said the scheme was scheduled to take off Jan. 11, 2010, saying that a grace period had been set aside for cargoes coming in before Feb. 28.

The NPA spokesman said Cotonou Port, Republic of Benin had implemented the CTN for so long, adding that the basic principles are revenue accruable and the security of cargoes.

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) in December 2009 approved that NPA should contract Messrs Transport and Port Management System (TPMS) Ltd. as managing agent for the implementation of the CTN in the country for a period of five years with initial six months probation.

A ten-member technical committee on CTN headed by General Manager, Western Ports, Malam Muhammed Bulangu had been inaugurated.

Committee members include NACCIMA, MAN and representatives of the terminal operators.

The terms of reference of the committee which is expected to sit for two weeks are: to propose a simple guideline for implementing the CTN scheme in the country, taking into consideration the need to eliminate bureaucracy and additional port costs.

The committee would also identify the stakeholders that are necessary for the successful

implementation of the scheme and liaise with them for inputs.

Countries that have implemented the CTN in Africa include Republic of Benin, Togo, Cote D'ivoire, Cameroun, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Madagascar, Niger, Gabon, Mali, Niger, Guinea and others.

The CTN is a web-based high technology tool for monitoring of import and export goods.

CTN notes the cargo type, origin, quantity, carrier and vessel, other shipment information and generates automatic information alert to the ports of destination.

It also seeks to provide such information that would help check maritime security threats and also generates revenue.

It is projected that over ten million euros would be generated annually for the country from the implementation of the scheme.

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