BY AYO ALONGE firstname.lastname@example.org
With his wealth of experience in the freight and shipping business, Adeyemi Isaac, says he is passionate about a business he has acquired so much training in. Little wonder his success story is grounded on his determination to succeed in business. For the father of five, his dream is to bequeath his business empire to his children soon and watch his staffers start-up theirs in the nearest future.
Sunday Sun had an encounter with the Oyo State born businessman who spoke on the challenges facing freight ventures in the country.
“In our kind of business, it’s our association that’s not helping matters at all. There are some responsibilities that it’s supposed to shoulder and then others follow. For example, they are not supposed to charge demurrage. I repeat, shipping companies are not supposed to be charged demurrage all the time but they charge us all the time and even on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays and this is so worrisome.” He also reveals his success story and future plans for his company.
Could you tell us about your education?
Yes, I’m a product of Wolex Polytechnic, Lagos. I graduated from the school some years ago.
How and when did you start your business?
Before I left school, I had been in business partially and I continued, when I graduated. By the grace of God, we are what we are today through hard work and passion for the business. I worked with a firm for a while and subsequently, I worked with a shipping agency and later worked elsewhere until I finally thought of incorporating mine.
How much did you spend in incorporating your company?
When I was starting up, there was nothing much then. We only incorporated the company, rented an office and employed some marketers. Gradually, we started coming up.
What do you know about freight and shipping business in Nigeria?
When you are talking about freight and shipping, in a lay man’s language, it’s a clearing and forwarding business. We are like solicitors standing between our clients and government. We clear goods that come through airports and seaports. That is clearing and when you say forwarding, we stand in the gap for exporters moving goods legally to any part of the world, either by air or sea. We are intermediaries between importers or exporters and the government.
Many people always doubt the safety of their goods at the ports. How do you deal with the Customs in this regard?
The issue of security is crucial. Whenever a container is on the way, hoodlums can just waylay it, break it and steal goods from it. So, these are some of the challenges we face.
What’s your staying power in business considering the aforementioned?
Actually, we at Jaxmat Freight and Shipping Agency, have studied why people fail and miss it in our line of business. We try to work ahead of time and we are proactive in order to minimize our demurrage. We also do everything to satisfy our clients because we know what brings disagreement between agents and clients. We are managing well.
How do shipping agencies effectively protect the interest of their clients and the government?
When you have declared all your goods at the ports, our duty is to go for physical examination or the container undergoes a scan. If there’s a discrepancy in what we find in the container and what we have been told, the client pays additional charges. If it is about contraband, we cannot deal with that because we cannot be encouraging crime. So, in that regard, we protect the interest of the government and make sure our clients pay the normal levies. We also ensure that our clients do not fall victims in the process.
How do you deal with contraband when clearing for a client?
We don’t deal on contraband.
What are your expectations from the government?
We expect government to help private companies. The way they are treating importers and agents is not good at all. When there is public holiday, automatically, you know that nobody can work. On Sundays, nobody works, yet demurrage keeps accumulating and it’s damn too much. For both terminal and shipping charges, we pay about N23,000 daily, which is too much. You know how many days a container stays before being finally cleared. Government should force Customs to reduce tariffs and at the same time improve the roads . There is always traffic everywhere and that makes hoodlums break containers and steal from us at will. If the road network in the country is fine, all that may not likely happen. Government is generating a lot of revenue from us and yet, security wise, we are not safe in our business. If government can start at this point, business would be smooth for us.
Is freight forwarding and shipping lucrative?
Yes, there is no business that’s not profitable. Our prayer is just that God should help us so that we can impact some other people’s destinies positively. It’s a profitable business, if you do it the normal way.
What’s your most ugly experience in business that you would like to share?
I have had a lot of ugly experiences in this business. There was a couple who are pastors. I worked for them and instead of them to pay me when I went to their house to ask for my money, they called the police to arrest me and I was locked up in the station for two days. I was even denied access to my phone. They also asked me to pay back the money that was spent to move the goods to them. I was surprised that when I got to their house, they called the police and said “This is the thief”. That is one of the things you face when you use your money to work for people without payment first. Those ones are professional 419ers. There was also another time when a chief asked me to clear his container worth millions of Naira. I must confess to you that he hasn’t paid me till date.
Could you tell us about your staff strength and how you manage your workers?
As far as my company is concerned, we have a very good background and we fear God. I am just the head and the staffers run about so we have to give them what belongs to them. I would have loved it if you asked them this question , because they are the ones that can say better. I have about 39 staffers, both in Lagos and Ibadan and they are doing very well. They can testify to what they have achieved in this very company.
What are your long term goals and objectives for your business?
We plan so big for the company because I don’t think there is something else I love doing than this. I’m passionate about it and I hope one or two of my children would come into the business and take over from me. I will just sit back as the chairman and watch them run it. I also want to see all my staffers and if not all, about 60 to 70 percent of them to establish their own companies and I can call them that anytime and they will happily respond.
How do you cope with difficult customers who are not willing to honour their contracts with you like you’ve said?
My brother, when it’s about money, the best thing we can do to people like that is to commit them to God’s hands, and if that is not enough, we commit them to the hands of the law.
Source : SunOnline