…says ‘I am still in charge of affairs’
By Sade Williams
The Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc (NAHCOaviance) has said that it spends over N120 million annually in a bid to ensure that all its operations nationwide meet global standards by investing in state-of-the-art equipment and staff.
Nobert Bielderman, managing director of the company, who stated this at a press conference in Lagos on Wednesday, also declared that he still in charge of affairs at the company, adding that contrary to rumours of sack or resignation, he remains the MD of the ground handling company.
According to him, the company takes painstaking and internationally acceptable steps at ensuring cargo export and warehousing, adding that it has maintained its integrity for over 35 years.
“I am here in full force and with great support of my company, I have neither resigned nor been sacked, I do my job to make money for my shareholders and the management, I am 100 percent concerned about my integrity.
“For over 30 years, NAHCO has maintained its integrity, we are here to prevent all unlawful acts as regards cargo export, the United States Federal Aviation Administration certified our warehouse as safe and secure, it was even based on NAHCO warehouse and the equipment deployed that gave Nigeria a clean bill of health on dangerous goods”, he said.
Speaking on the arrest of some NAHCO staff by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on drug related issues, Bielderman said NAHCO is cooperating fully with the NDLEA, adding that the company has a zero tolerance for all vices and criminal tendencies and would not spare anyone found wanting in that regard.
He added that NAHCO constantly reviews its recruitment process and background checks on new employees.
He regretted however, that singling out NAHCO staff ‘is tantamount to looking for a soft target’.
“Even so, it is important for us to recognise that there is no way drugs will enter the airport without the connivance of government agencies at the airport, the screening process is such that for any shipment to be exported, the Customs, the NDLEA, FAAN security and the airlines staff, must have screened it. Therefore, for there to be a breach of security that would have resulted in loading drugs, one or two of the agencies must have been involved”, he added.
He said for instance, NAHCO did not in anyway, lose Ethiopian airline to competition but that the airline has a global GSSA agreement with DHL, meaning that all cargoes would be handled by DHL on behalf of ET cargoes.
He explained that despite the recession, staff salaries and allowances are paid as at when due, the company controls 80 percent of the domestic market, a bigger share than ever before, it handles 90 percent of international market and still growing.
“This year alone, we have won Meridiana Fly, Mid-African airlines, RwandAir on Abuja-Kigali route, Mainstream aviation and Cronos, all our airlines standard ground handling main contracts are perfect and in full force, we are still opening stations in Nigeria, we have a staff strength of 1, 744b with about 300 National Youth Service Corps and Internship staff”, he said.
He said due to the recession, these are not the best of times for the aviation sector but NAHCO remains strong, adding that even in the face of any consolidation exercise that may take place in the sector, NAHCO would emerge strong.
He said to further prove that NAHCO is the only certified IATA Authorised cargo certification centre in Nigeria, IATA Training Fund and IATA, partnered with NAHCO to certify 100 council for the regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) members and other independent cargo agents in preparation for IATA cargo Account Settlement System (CASS) in Nigeria.
He added that this would be implemented as a Corporate Social Responsibility initiative that empowers cargo operators to be professional and trade globally and have a unique identification code issued by NAHCO/IATA.
Bielderman revealed that as a way to mitigate the effect of the recession, the company has diversified and have two subsidiaries, namely: Mainland cargo and NAHCO free trade zone, among other strategies.
“We are strict on cost control too”, he added.