Nigeria Mulls Refloating National Shipping Line
By Adedapo Adesanya
Nigeria has commenced moves to refloat the moribund national shipping line with a view to targeting a $10 billion value from the global shipping market.
This is the current interest of the newly created Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy headed by the Minister, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola, as he met with various maritime stakeholders with a view to charting a new course for the sustainable development of the nation’s marine sector in Lagos on Tuesday.
He said that Nigeria must be ready for global competitiveness as it hopes to target the $10 billion ship charter market.
According to Mr Oyetola, “The Blue Economy is a pivotal sector that must be harnessed for economic growth.”
He affirmed that the initiative will not in any way impede the growth of local players but rather provide an avenue for them to create and extract more value from the sector, especially through ship construction, maintenance, and repairs.
According to the minister, the forum was convened to bring together players in the sector to discuss and chart a roadmap/direction that will advance the industry’s potential, promote sustainable Blue Economy investments, and ensure global competitiveness within the sector.
He noted that the model, a collaborative synergy between the private sector’s efficiency and the public sector’s oversight, will bring about a transformative impact on the marine and blue economy as well as boost the creation of substantial job opportunities and the facilitation of increased trade and investment in the nation, reinforcing the ministry’s collaborative and forward-looking approach.“
There is an urgent need for a collaborative effort to brainstorm and devise strategies to leverage our marine resources for the betterment of the economy and the safety of our planet. It is imperative we come up with practicable ways of ensuring that our inland rivers, lakes, and waterways are well utilised for cargo shipment and passenger transportation.”
“Our Ministry though new, is not resting on its oars and has continued to foster inter-agency collaborations and implement initiatives to promote Port efficiency, cargo shipment, maritime security and tap into the resources of the seabed.
“The ministry’s decision to consider the re-establishment of a National Shipping Line, through a strategic PPP arrangement, is borne out of our desire to capture a substantial share of the estimated $10 billion annual ship charter market within the country,” he added.
According to him, “This initiative will not seek to impede the growth of local players but rather to provide an avenue for them to create and extract more value from the sector, especially through ship construction, maintenance, and repairs. This would enable our local businesses to better leverage the Cabotage Act, which gives Nigerians the exclusive right to control locally generated seaborne trade.
“Other anticipated outcomes include the creation of substantial job opportunities and the facilitation of increased trade and investment in the nation, reinforcing our collaborative and forward-looking approach”.