The Nigerian Shippers’ Council has faulted what it described as unwarranted and unacceptable the alleged monopoly that is currently being enjoyed by one of the leading terminal operators in the country, Integrated Logistics Services (INTELS) as the only destination for all oil and cargo related imports.
Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Barrister Hassan Bello, who make this disclosure in Lagos at a public function, said that the Council is not comfortable with the situation which he described as an abuse of dominance in a perfect market system.
He disclosed that the Council is set to carry out a study and that the alleged dominance by INTELS would not escape its scrutiny.
Bello argued that it was wrong for any government or individual to declare that a single terminal should enjoy the privilege of importing all oil and gas cargo related imports into Nigeria.
He also condemned the coming together of terminal operators under any guise or association in order to fix port charges, describing the development as encouraging monopol
‘’Oil and gas cargo is not known to the concession agreement, it is a new thing that has been introduced and what is oil and gas cargo? How can you as a government or any other body say that one terminal should enjoy that privilege? That is monopoly because, in the international carriage of goods, it is the shipper who will nominate the ship, the point of loading and port of discharge, it is voluntary.
‘’Nobody should force a shipper to go to a terminal that he does not want, this is an abuse of dominant position. So, we should be carrying out a study and this are issues we would consider because once competition is distorted, the market will collapse’’, Bello noted.
‘’If there is competition, there will be a perfect market condition and this is what the Shippers’ Council is trying to achieve’’ , he further declared.
The Shippers’ Council boss admitted that in every industry, there will be one operator who is dominant as a result of efficiency which will make people prefer him to others, or as a result of capital investments in the right places.
He however said that government cannot afford to replace public monopoly in the case of Nigeria Ports Authority during pre-concession era, with private monopoly of terminal operators at post-concession.
‘’In the communication sector, there is MTN being dominant, in the aviation sector, there is Arik because they have more aircraft and safety record’’
‘’Dominance is encouraging but what is bad is the abuse of that dominance and we in Shippers’ Council have started because it will take you five years to lay down a philosophical frame work for regulation, but we have started it, what we want to do now is to have a study of the competitiveness in the industry. When a terminal is efficient, sometimes is it costlier. Sometimes ago, shippers brought the issue of INTELS to the Council, complaining of their charges, but we told them to go to other terminals’’ he said.