The Secretary General of the Abuja Memorandum of Understanding, Mrs. Mfon Ekong Usoro, has backed the palletisation policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
It will be recalled that following the introduction of the palletisation policy of the Federal Government, which took off on January 1, 2018, maritime stakeholders have kicked against the policy, saying it will increase the cost of doing business at the ports.
However, speaking exclusively to the Nigerian Tribune, Mrs. Usoro explained that the policy will bring about orderliness at the nation’s ports.
According to the maritime lawyer, “What does palletisation mean? Palletisation means orderliness. If you see the inside of a fully laden container that has just been opened at the ports, you will see that the goods are just scattered inside the container.
“Non-palletisation means goods are thrown into the container without arrangement. Palletisation means orderliness of goods inside a container. With palletisation, inspecting officers can easily look into a container and see what is inside.
“Aside the fact that palletisation brings orderliness and makes inspection easy, it also safeguards goods from damage. While on the high sea, goods get damaged due to the way they are just scattered inside the containers.
“So, if to palletise the goods attracts a bit extra payment from the shipper, I think it is not a bad idea since the goods will arrive in the country in a very good condition.
“Maybe people don’t understand what palletisation means, and that is why there has been so much noise about the policy. Palletisation brings orderliness and helps during inspection of cargoes.”
When reminded that agents kicked against the policy due to the extra cost it brings to the entire clearing procedure, since they have to pay the shipper to have their goods arranged in crates, Usoro asked if agents are not currently paying more due to the way goods are scattered inside the containers when they are opened for inspection by Customs.
“Customs currently inspect cargoes through the hundred percent examination process, which implies opening the containers and bringing out most of its contents. Now, when containers arrive not palletised, inspecting officers spend more time on inspection because the goods inside the container are not arranged in an orderly manner. The more time containers spend inside the ports the more money they attract. So if inspection of containers takes longer because the contents of such containers are scattered inside them, the cargo owners automatically spend more money because in shipping, time is money.
“But if the container were to be palletised, that extra money that cargo owners pay due to the longer process their cargoes spend during inspection is no more there. This is so because the contents inside the container are properly arranged in crates under a palletization regime,” Mrs. Usoro told Nigerian Tribune.
The Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control for West and Central African Region, generally referred to as Abuja MoU, is one of the nine regional MoUs and one national MoU established pursuant to IMO Resolution A.682(17) of 1991.