By Innocent Orok
In view of the importance of the continuation of port operations as essential services which was highlighted by President Muhammadu Buhari in his March 29th address, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council has been engaging
with all stakeholders under its purview to ensure that safety and health guidelines are strictly adhered to so as to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the ports industry.
To this end, the NSC has assigned its officers to the various shipping companies and terminals to assist in ensuring that all safety and health regulations issued by the authorities are strictly adhered to during this period.
This was contained in a press statement issued yesterday by the Council.
The statement reads “NSC cannot overemphasise the importance of all port users, particularly, Freight Forwarders conducting themselves responsibly and adhering to health guidelines as they go about their very essential business.”
In another development and underscoring the importance of port operations, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, had during one of the daily COVID-19 briefings in the past week, referred to his conversation with the ES/CEO of Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Mr. Hassan Bello, in which it was confirmed that some banks had agreed to open for business in the Apapa area of Lagos state for limited number of hours in order to facilitate port operations.
The SGF had explained that at the onset of the lockdown, banking halls had been marked out as potential risk zones for Covid19. However, a review of that thinking became necessary when it becomes imperative that banks had to open for people to pay Customs duties and other port charges.