Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
The Nigerian Shipper’s Council (NSC) yesterday in Abuja, called for the speedy implementation of the National Fleet which, it hinted, would reduce the loss of billions of dollars along the country’s territorial waters.
This is even as it disclosed that Nigeria loses about $6 billion annually to cargo charges.
NSC stated that it was imperative to move for the speedy implementation of the National Fleet as the lack of indigenous shipping companies in the ownership and operation of international carriage of goods has resulted in the country’s huge loss of billions of dollars to the shipping companies of other countries.
The NSC’s Executive Secretary, Hassan Bello, stated this on the sidelines of a one-day training organised for Aviation/Transportation Correspondents in Abuja.
According to Bello, “it will be a thing of pride to have ships fly Nigerian flag. The advantage of having national fleet is for our national pride. We need to see ships flying Nigerian flag.
“It is not rocket science; all we need to get it running is private sector participation. The private sector should lead the way and what the committee for the fleet implementation is doing is to create that investment climate so that investors will come and make it a worthwhile venture.”
He stressed that the annual freight cost is estimated at about $5 billion and $6 billion. I am just giving you a base figure of 2015.
“Nigeria lost $9 billion in 2015 for freight because Nigerians don’t own or operate ship in the international carriage of goods and also on the wet cargoes, and that is why it is important we pursue this issue of National Fleet implementation.
“Our cadets are there being trained but they don’t have ship time because there are no ships. We need to have those ships and all hands must come together to achieve it.”
Bello hinted that the council in partnership with NIMASA would also embark on investment drive in order to have private sector participation in the indigenous shipping.