As part of efforts to reorganize, streamline and professionalize the practice of freight forwarding in Nigeria, the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria, CRFFN, has so far registered more than 5,000 practitioners as full-fledged freight forwarders. The membership drive initiative remains on-going. The agency’s director of Education and Research, Mr. Alban Igwe, in a recent disclosure, said that the door is wide open for all genuine freight forwarders to identify with the body. Those who failed to register with the Council stand regarded as fake businessmen. According to him, the Council has mapped out far-reaching strategies to enforce its operational code which stipulates that only registered members can practise the trade of freight forwarding.
“The registration which started last year is on-going. The enforcement which should have started already will commence shortly as soon as all logistics are on ground. We have a tribunal that will try all illegal freight forwarders and any forwarder found guilty will be sentenced.” He admitted the pervasive notion that most of the practitioners in Nigeria do not possess the requisite academic and technical knowledge to function in a profession driven by high competence in digital technology and information management. “Education of freight forwarders continues because over 70 percent of people involved in the business do not have more than school certificate”, he said. As a consequence, he revealed, the association has concluded plans to conduct intensive training across the country and has entered into memoranda of understanding with ten training institutions to facilitate achievement of the training and re-training objective in line with the provisions of the Act that established the Council. Already, he said, training programmes done so far have made it possible for interested freight forwarders to acquire degrees and specialist skills that can enable them compete with their counterparts globally.
On January 28, 2012, over 4,000 registered freight forwarders were inducted into the Council at an elaborate ceremony held in the main auditorium of the University of Lagos.
The Council for the Registration of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) was established when the CRFFN Act No 16 of 2007 became law. The body was vested with a wide range of regulatory powers which includes the determination of the standards of knowledge and skill to be attained by persons seeking to be registered as freight forwarders in Nigeria in accordance with provisions of this Act and for related purposes. By virtue of Section 1(i) and 5 of the CRFFN Act, 2007, the CRFFN is a statutory professional regulatory agency of government subject to the objectives and supervision of the Minister of Transport, Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Speaking through a director in the Transport Ministry during the CRFFN induction event, the minister, Senator Idris Umar, announced that with the CRFFN’s registry to be gazetted, professional practice in freight forwarding will now be for only those whose names are documented. While enumerating the benefits of registering with the council not only to the practitioners, government, port users, terminal operators, industrial players and other critical stakeholders now have an opportunity of a database of “who is who” in the freight forwarding profession. An opportunity now exists to monitor activities that might affect the interests of all stakeholders, guide planning for the development of the sub sector, provide practitioners with government protection as they transact their businesses within and outside Nigeria, serve as a forum for knowledge and skills acquisition as well as empowering the practitioners to do their business incorporating international best practices. He also said registering with the Council serves as a platform for freight forwarders to discuss their welfare, recognition by government, access to information on international and global trends as well as membership of international bodies.