Bollore, the French owned shipping company in charge of the Freetown Port has been accused of monopolizing all shipping, clearing and forwarding activities in clear contravention of the Government of Sierra Leone’s local content policy.
Bollore signed a contract with government to only carry out shipping services at the Freetown port but Platinum Media has learnt that the company is also illegally carrying out clearing and forwarding services at the detriment of smaller indegenous companies whose operations have also immensely contributed to national revenue over the years.
Perhaps to cover up their illegal operations, Bollore has set up another clearing and forwarding agency – Sea and Land Services (SLS) which it now uses to unhealthily compete with local clearing and forwarding agencies.
This has been verified by a top official from the National Commission for Privatization who said Bollore had long been operating their own clearing and forwarding agency. The officer however fell short of explaining why a big multilateral company like Bollore can be allowed to suppress local companies.
What has made the situation a bit complex is the allegation that the leadership of the Association of Clearing and Forwarding Agencies have been compromised by Bollore. We contacted an official of the association who declined to talk to us but insisted that we should ‘meet and talk’ at their office at a time of their own convenience. It was clear the Bollore monopoly had triggered last February’s strike action by angry Clearing and Forwarding agents.
Platinum Media has also learnt from impeccable sources that Bollore had commenced airfreight services with SN Brussels.
Efforts to reach the Bollore Management proved futile but we learnt the company is being regulated by the Ministry of Transport and Aviation.
We are yet to establish any connivance between Bollore and the Transport and Aviation Ministry. We however believe the company given the responsibility to handle our sea port has been taking undue advantage over indegenous businesses at the country’s sea port.