Nigeria will soon have a national shipping fleet after a report on the modalities for the establishment of the fleet was submitted to the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, in Abuja, the Nigerian capital.
Presenting the report, the chairman of the committee set to work out the modalities of establishing the fleet Mr Olu Akinsoji, said Nigeria has the potentials of establishing three categories of maritime transportation system.
Mr Akinsoji noted some categories of Nigerian fleet which include wet cargo-crude, finished product-petroleum, high and lower premium fuel oils: the dry cargo, general, bulk, container, ror-ro, bargo carriers, and the coastal, FPSO, jack-up and others.
He explained that the committee examined various structures and made recommendations for three optional structures, a large holding company with technical management for subsidiaries in all the areas of maritime transportation, an independent company in each of the identified areas shipping, and three company formations, provided the criteria for establishment are followed with relevant laws.
The chairman also spoke on the factors for creating an enabling environment, such as fiscal measures, guarantee, technical support, incentives seed money, motivating inducement fund, “We identified those within the purview of the transport Minister and his agencies”, he said, “some will need the collaboration with other Ministers and some may need review of existing or promulgation of new laws”. The chairman added.
According to him the committee also observed the significant gaps and possible barriers to establish a sustainable Nigerian fleet; this includes the ship registration, ship survey, certification, the human element (seafarers) and technical maintenance as well as ship repair/building yards.
“In this regards our committee recognized the essence of the second Ministerial committee and it is our hope that the committee will put up more recommendations to re-position Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to be more effective in these areas of fleet dependency.”
“It is important that that NIMASA is repositioned to guarantee the worthiness of the ships of the Nigerian fleet”, he added.
Receiving the report, the Minister of Transportation Mr. Rotimi Amechi promised to forward the report to the government for approval.
The committee was set up in April 2016, with maritime professionals, shipping companies, owners of ships and relevant stakeholders to develop the modalities for establishing a Nigerian shipping fleet.