Lockdown : NSC Dialogues With Banks To Extend Ports Operations.

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The Port Economic Regulator, Nigeria Shippers’ Council has continue to fulfill its statutory duty in ensuring continuous flow  of cargoes and easy movement of  port users during this period of lock down.

The Council have taken its time to visit some terminals in the course of the week and had very useful discussions with their operators. 


Addressing stakeholders in the maritime Industries and other representatives of government agencies on Friday at the Shippers tower in Apapa Lagos, the Executive Secretary, Barr Hassan Bello disclosed that these discussions have led to the Council intervening on behalf of freight forwarders with banks to extend their services to port operators in order to allow them pay fees to various agencies to facilitate clearance of cargoes from ports. 


While disclosing that a number of banks have been cooperating at their branches in Apapa to ease transactions for freight forwarders, he added that the council cannot afford to have the terminals clogged up with more uncleared cargoes.
He listed the banks to include Zenith bank, UBA, FCMB and GTbank while discussions continues with others. 


Noting that it is of great important that the stakeholders  knows exactly what is going on in the sector so that the economy is not unduly adversely affected by the lockdown, he said”Considering the impact of port activities on the economy, it is important that the correct state of affairs be communicated to all stakeholders in order not to exacerbate a situation which has the potential to affect the lives and livelihoods of Nigerians”.
Hassan however appreciate the President for pro-actively putting in place a lockdown in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun States so as to stop the spread of the Corona Virus amongst the teeming populations of the Federal Capital Territory and these two states of the federation.
The ES added that the Council has taken steps to ensure that cargo flow continues “As you know, even in the hardest hit countries, port operations have continued without let or hindrance. In an interdependent world, goods continue to move around and the manufacturing of goods cannot be halted otherwise economies would be in bigger trouble than they are set to be as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many essential commodities, particularly drugs, medical equipment and consumables need to be imported by many countries including Nigeria.
“It is against this background that the Nigerian Shippers’ Council stepped up its engagement with port operators by providing transportation to and from the ports daily for freight forwarders during the period of the lockdown. I must remark that response to this service has been encouraging” 
“It gives me great pleasure to report that all stakeholders have been very cooperative in a bid to ensure that activities in the Maritime sector suffer minimum disruption. 

“Nigerian Shippers’ Council has been engaging the Port Health Services as well, as it works very hard to ensure that port users, and indeed the generality of Nigerians are protected from the virus as essential goods make their way into the country. The Council has made some modest contribution in cash and protective materials towards the fight against COVID-19. 
“However, its most important contribution is in ensuring that it does not drop the ball in terms of its responsibility as Port Economic Regulator in these very fluid and difficult times. This is why we continue to engage with stakeholders to ensure that the ports run as smoothly as possible under the circumstances.” I cannot conclude this address without acknowledging the hard work, commitment and cooperation of the Vice President’s team on Post COVID-19,  Secretary to the Government of the Federation’s Task Force on COVID-19, the Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwoolu and his COVID-19 team, Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Kayode Odumosu, Port Health Services, NIMASA, NPA, CRFFN among others.
“And last, but not the least, the brave medical workers, security forces, researchers working all hours to find a vaccine and of course all of you present here today” Bello quipped.

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