FG Set to Float New National Shipping Carrier

NIMASAThe Federal Government has approved the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA’s bid to float a new national shipping line in the country setting a six-month deadline for the project.

Patrick Akpobolokemi, Director General of NIMASA, disclosed this during a recent national workshop for infrastructural development and modernization in the Nigerian maritime industry.

Akpobolokemi explained that the defunct Nigerian National Shipping Line, NNSL, as a government venture went into extinction due to poor management. To avoid a repeat of that failure, he said, the new carrier will be established on a public-private partnership, PPP basis, for effective management. The Director General said the best option is to allow the private sector manage the new national carrier while the government only create enabling environment with minimal participation.

Stressing that the shipping line is meant to ensure that Crude oil and other important cargoes in the country are ferried by Nigerians, Akpobolokemi said, “It is a huge economic waste that most of our hydro carbon is being transported by people other than Nigerians and I don’t think the agency can have the patience or keep waiting, drastic measure must be taken.” He also pointed out that the government would not be spending so much on the training of seafarers to get seat-time abroad if only there had been a national carrier.

Isaac Jolapamo, chairman of the Nigeria Indigenous Ships owners’ Association, NISA, said NISA members are ready to work with the Federal Government to make the shipping line become a reality, even if they have to merge with other groups.

Jolapamo said the association now awaits the decision of the federal government on the required PPP policy. He said NISA has a pending proposal before NIMASA on using a public-private partnership to refloat the national shipping line.

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