To maritime professionals, the establishment of a national carrier was important for the nation’s economy. Chairman of the Ministerial Committee, Engr. Olu Akinsoji, who favours the establishment of national carrier, said Nigeria stood to record huge foreign exchange if her national carrier was involved in crude oil carriage. Akinsoji disclosed that the country would have raked in up to $2.2 billion if 50 per cent of the vessels that carry crude in the past two years, were Nigerian-owned ships. He disclosed that the country had been suffering huge foreign exchange losses because even as big time oil producer, Nigerian vessels were not involved in crude oil carriage.

He said: “If 50 per cent of the over 5,000 ships came to Nigeria in 2014 were Nigerian ships, crewed by Nigerians, say 20 Nigerians per ship, and earning $3,000 per person, Nigeria would have made $2.2 billion. That is apart from the freight that is accruable by carrying Nigerian cargo. The human elements, the seafarer that would have worked on those ships would have earned $2.2 billion and you imagine every family of that seafarer would have benefited from the cargo.

“These are the kinds of losses that we are making by not having ships that are carrying our cargo. All the international cargo we generated is carried by foreign ships. We don’t have a ship in international waters carrying dry cargo.”

As part of the efforts to establish a national fleet, the officials of the Pacific International Limited (PIL) recently visited Nigeria to express their willingness for a Joint Venture ( JV). Following this, some members of the implementation committee and Amaechi, were believed to have travelled to Singapore to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the company.