Tin Can Island Port: Customs Introduce Dispute Resolution Team, Suggestion Box

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As part of efforts to expedite dispute resolution for seamless trade at Tin Can Island Port (TCIP), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has introduced a dispute resolution team at the Command.

The Area Controller, Comptroller Dera Nnadi mni, disclosed this after a strategic meeting with freight forwarders at the Command on Thursday.

The meeting had a rich delegation of freight forwarders with the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), African Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON), among others as they encouraged shippers to patronize the port on account of efficiency and ease of doing business.

The Area Controller, Tin Can Island Port (TCIP), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Comptroller Dera Nnadi mni (left); the National Chairman, NAGAFF Elders Council, Prince Ignatius Nwachukwu speaking; during a meeting between Customs and freight forwarders on Thursday.

 

Speaking with journalists after the meeting, Comptroller Nnadi stated that the dialogue was necessary to collectively review the operations at the port for continuous improvement, even as he identified the recent opening of the Tin Can/ Mile 2 access road as a major factor to enhance TCIP patronage..

“The office of the Command’s Public Relations Officer will be collaborating with the Enforcement Unit and Customs Intelligence Unit (CIU), to function as dispute resolution and provide intervention whenever stakeholders are aggrieved,” the TCIP Customs boss said.

As part of efforts to address shortcomings in the Command’s operations, the CAC stated that the Command will introduce a Suggestion box for stakeholders to anonymously disseminate information that could improve Command’s activities without fear of victimization.

His words: “The meeting was firstly an opportunity to congratulate freight forwarders who are our core stakeholders. It also availed a platform to review our activities for optimal performance because the port is a very dynamic environment. Almost everyday there are new regulations and changes in government policies, therefore there is a need for us to continuously engage our stakeholders.”

“Recall that for several years the Tin Can Island Port access road was impassable thereby creating apathy as shippers avoided the port. Service delivery was poor during that period, but today the situation has changed and we encouraged freight forwarders to notify their shippers that TCIP now has a good environment for trade. The turnaround time for trucks bearing containers has improved significantly to the extent that operators could achieve 3 or more trips in a day”.

He also pointed out that one of the major seaport terminals, Five Star Logistics Terminal has unveiled an automated pedestrian access control system to sanitize the port, collect port user’s data, curb pilferage and address security challenges.

“We also addressed collective intergrity of freight agents and Customs officers, emphasizing the need for voluntary compliance. We recommended that all officers of the Command must embrace trade facilitation as a tool for effective service delivery,” Comptroller Nnadi said.

According to the Area Controller, the freight forwarders as well as Customs officials have a collective responsibility to contribute to improved service delivery and market the port for more patronage.

“The credit for import and export via this port really goes to the freight agents because they get the businesses. If we promote an idea that port business doesn’t thrive at TCIP, we discourage shippers; but our plan should be to encourage them while we address the challenges at the port,” Nnadi remarked.

Also speaking, the National Chairman, NAGAFF Elders Council, Prince Ignatius Nwachukwu, encouraged participants to take the information and strategies shared at the meeting to their workers and association members.

“Take the discussion to your workers, colleagues, friends and members of your association. We should also explain some of the issues to those assistants and workers who engage the Customs officials in day-to-day port operations,” the freight forwarder said.

Nwachukwu said the engagement between Customs and freight forwarders will be frequent, adding that freight agents had perceived the TCIP Customs boss as tough and harsh, but after the fruitful interaction the Area Controller only seeks to prioritize national interest.

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