In an effort to increase the participation of local shipowners in the maritime trade, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency has concluded plans which ensures that all the cargoes that emanate from the ministries, departments and agencies of government are transported by ships belonging to local operators in the shipping business.
The agency also revealed that a consultant was working on a Public-Private Partnership modality for operating the NIMASA floating dock.
The Director General, NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside, disclosed this in his office in Lagos on Friday during a courtesy visit by members of maritime writers’ group, the SCAN.
Peterside, who was represented by the Executive Diector, Finance and Administration, NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, said that the initiative was part of NIMASA’s cargo support programme for local operators in the shipping sector.
“Ships cannot exist without cargo to lift and that is why NIMASA has come up with the initiative to see that all government cargoes are carried by local shipowners.
“This is in addition to looking for a foreign exchange window that will cater to shipowners and also putting in efforts to change our cargo status from Free on Board to Cost Insurance and Freight.”
Explaining further, he said the project was being handled by the National Fleet Implementation Committee that was inaugurated in 2017 with the task of ensuring that there was a Nigerian flagged vessel involved in international trade.
He said, “The committee has been introduced to the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan committee. It is useful to involve public sector cargo, that is the cargo that belongs to the government.
“We have looked at dry and wet cargoes. Last year, we created a freight committee to sort out government cargoes and the prospective local shipping companies that will handle them.”
On the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund, Peterside explained that the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, had asked the stakeholders to come together and review the CVFF guideline and determine how the fund should be disbursed.
He said the fund would be disbursed this year as soon as the guideline had been reviewed.
He, however, expressed concerns about the lack of unity among owners of the Cabotage vessels, saying that they belonged to too many associations and that made the job of attending to them challenging.
On wrecks removal, the NIMASA DG said the agency was working with some consultants to identify the wrecks and where they were, adding that this had been concluded and the agency would commence the removal of wrecks as soon as its budget for 2019 was approved.