Freight forwarders to benefit from MAN Oron training programmes
The Registrar of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron, Ante Mkpandiok has said that the institution would avail freight forwarders the full benefits of its training programmes and urged the practitioners to roundly take advantage of them.
Mkpandiok, who doubles as the Acting Rector of the institution, said this during the weekend in Lagos as Guest Speaker at Nigeria’s Iconic Freight Forwarders Awards organised by the Maritime Media Limited.
He said freight forwarders were the greatest beneficiaries of the academy’s training programmes since its introduction of Maritime Transport and Business Studies programme in 1993.
He disclosed that prior to 1993, a study was undertaken on the duties of imports and exports activities in Nigerian ports and it revealed that over 90 percent of dockworkers operating in the country were unskilled and that informed the introduction of the programme.
“Between then and now, a lot of changes and successes have been recorded in the business of clearing and forwarding in the ports,” he said.
Mkpandiok, who referred to the freight forwarders as “tireless men,” who bear the brunt of their principals for their actions and inactions, called on them to acquire more skills from the academy as the institution was well equipped for training of call categories of manpower professionals for the maritime, oil and gas and the allied industries in accordance with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) standards.
“I call you “tireless” because everyone who understands the demands of freight forwarding will agree that one needs boundless energy, persistence, tenacity of purpose, self-motivation, and continuous knowledge, among other values to succeed in this competitive and volatile profession.
“What is more, the freight forwarder is often the ‘burden bearer’ of what other stakeholder benefit in shipping. A shipper will finger his agent as ‘inefficient’ when his goods suffer even the slightest delay in the port, which may be completely outside the control of the forwarder.
“The freight forwarder is often the first party to bear the brunt of government sanctions for his principal’s trade infringements; it is his license that gets suspended for wrongful or under declaration of shipments pending investigations,” he stated.
He added that the many challenges and their outcomes have made some practitioners of the noble profession become unscrupulous in their bid to cut corners and make it overnight.
Mkpandiok pointed out that sadly, the actions of such members of the freight forwarding profession rub off negatively on the collective image of the industry.
“May I say to such elements among the faithful practitioners that success in the freight forwarding profession or any profession is not a destination but a process and indeed, a continuous process.
“As such, displaying integrity by half is as good as no integrity, as you cannot afford to be completely sincere to one client, while being partially sincere to another. It will backfire like a faulty gun,” he said.
He noted that MAN, Oron as an upholder of knowledge and as a development institution is able to solve the many challenges of freight forwarders through continuous training and retraining of its practitioners.