The Shippers Association of Lagos State (SALS) on Tuesday said it would monitor the implementation of the Cargo Defence Fund to make it effective.
The spokesperson for SALS, Dr Kayode Farinto, made this known at a news conference in Lagos.
The Cargo Defence Fund is an initiative of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), set up as a Cargo Protection and Indemnity (Cargo P & I) scheme.
It was established to mitigate losses incurred by shippers, especially small time importers and exporters, who may not have the financial muscle to pursue their legitimate maritime claims.
Farinto said that the SALS would collaborate with government agencies to ensure that the Cargo Defence Fund did not become moribund like the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF).
According to Farinto, the Cargo Defence Fund is very germaine and shippers do not want it to be a moribund.
“The Cargo Defence Fund is to assist shippers and help cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
He also urged government to look at trade facilitation as a core principle to enable shippers bring in cargo effortlessly.
Farinto addes that SALS would vacate its second-floor accommodation at the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) corporate headquarters over what the association labelled as lack of enough protection for cargo owners.
“This year, the NSC must carry everybody along. It is important that the chicken that lays the golden eggs are protected. The Shippers must be protected, empowered and encouraged.
“Shippers are very important in the industry, they are the proverbial hen that lay the golden eggs; without shippers, there will not be any cargo.
“In the NSC’s Act, a shipper is the direct owner of the cargo.
“Section 3, subsection C of the Act number 13 that establishes the council also said that the council is to encourage the formulation of shippers association all over the country.
“Unfortunately, the role of the shippers in the industry shows that shippers association have not been carried along and we will partner with agencies to make ourselves be heard,” he said.
Farinto added that shippers believe in the leadership of the NSC, but urged that they carry shippers along to ensure collective responsibility.
“Federal Government should not pay lip service to trade facilitation because if trade facilitation is achieved, there will be simplicity and projection in cargo clearance and employment generation.”