As a result of what it described as its non-inclusion in the policies and laws guiding maritime and shipping activities in Nigeria, shipping Agents and shipping operators in Nigeria have floated an association known as the ‘Indigenous Shipping Agents and Operators Association of Nigeria’ so as to help operators gain their rightful position in the scheme of things.
According to the operators who gathered at an inaugural meeting to launch the association in Lagos, formation of the association is necessitated as a result of the proliferation of multinationals companies in the business whose activities is depriving eligible Nigerians of their rights.
Speaking at the event, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the new group, Mr. Pam Bot-Mang assured that shipping agents in Nigeria are ready to be heard and that they are going to make use of the existing laws to back up their activities.
According to him, one of the objectives of setting up the association is to promote protective legislation in the interest of the members and to bring to the notice of the authorities for amendment or repeal any oppressive legislation against shipping agents and operators.
One of the laws which the association is ready to ride on according to him is the one establishing the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), “the number one function of the NIMASA Act is to promote the development of indigenous commercial shipping, but If we do not have a face, how do we push for this number one objective, it is one of the laws that back us up as indigenous shipping agents, we want to ride on this” he said.
Bot-Mang also said that the section 30 of the laws establishing the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN Act 2007) has also qualified members of the association as freight forwarders, he said that a larger part of freight forwarding in Nigeria is currently being carried out by foreigners and that this is in negation to section 5 of the CRFFN Act.
He said that the association is currently a member of an international body known as the Federation of National Associations of Ship Brokers and Agents (FONASBA) which aims at setting quality standards for ship agents all over the world and which will further give the association credibility.
The association according to him is going to commence trips to Warri, Calabar, Port Harcourt, as well as other port cities in Nigeria. He also said that the association will collaborate with government regulatory agencies, both in the petroleum sector and the maritime sector.
“the journey of a thousand miles starts with a step, we want to assure you that anywhere there is a port we shall be there, we intend to take short trips to all the port cities in Nigeria in order to plant chapters and talk to our members” Bot-Mang said.
Other members of the Board of trustee of the association include the director of the Dangote Port Operations, Capt. Joshua Oyewumi, Dr. Martins Enebeli, Mrs. Kemi Mogaji and Mr. Ekerele Udofia.