Customs Clearing Agents have urged the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to tap into chandling. The agents described the business as the most lucrative in maritime sector.
Ship chandling, a business established in Nigeria through an Act in 1958, is made up of retail dealers, who specialise in supplies of equipment and goods for ships, known as ship’s stores.
For traditional sailing ships, items that could be found in a chandlery may include: rosin, turpentine, tar, pitch (resin), linseed oil, whale oil, tallow, lard, varnish, twine, rope and cordage, hemp, oakum and tools (hatchet, axe, hammer, chisel, planes, lantern, nail, spike, boat hook, caulking iron, hand pump, marlinspike).
Others are brooms, mops, galley supplies, leather goods, and paper.
Items that could be supplied by the modern day chandlers, range from foodstuff, drinks, oil, engine oil, water, spares, materials and other items the captain of the ship may require.
The President, Nigeria Licensed Customs Clearing Agents (ANLCA), Prince Olayiwola Shittu, who made the call, said although the Local Content Act is meant to address issues of this nature, the National Content Monitoring Board is yet to understand the dynamics of the local content ship chandelling operations.
He said the country loses several billions of naira annually due to the low level of activities in the ship chandelling sub sector of the economy. He, therefore, urged the Director-General of NIMASA, Patrick Akpobolokemi and his management team to do a thorough co-ordination of the statues guiding ship chandelling so as to harness it to create jobs for the youth and boost the nation’s economy.
He pointed out that ship chandelling needs a lot of funds to meet the demands of the crews engaged by ships.
For instance, he said a ship of 5,000 Gross Registered Tonnage (GRT), would require about $50,000 monthly to take foods, pharmaceuticals, oil, lubricants and other things for it to go to sea and come back to the port.
The ANLCA boss said the association was worried that the legislation guiding ship chandelling profession has been in comatose, a situation that has allowed the profession to stagnate, adding that the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA), Section 24, which regulates ship chandelling, has not been reviewed since 1968 to reflect the new trend in the business.
Shittu said the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), has the power to enforce, as well as the requisite training to understand the dynamics of how this aspect of the maritime business is run.
He said ship chandelling is one of the oldest maritime professions the country needs to harness to protect local chandlers and end foreign domination.
The ANLAC chief said the continuous refusal of foreign ship operators to make use of indigenous chandlers contravenes the Local Content Act promulgated by the Federal Government to grow indigenous companies and create jobs.
“NIMASA and the Federal Government must do something about the business. The country must use all the resources we have to provide jobs for our people. Other countries are using ship chandelling to empower their youths and there is nothing wrong if we also tap into it,” Shittu said.
But a senior official of Customs, who does not want his name in print, said the terminal operators also were taxing indigenous chandlers heavily, collecting about 20 per cent of the total cost of the goods to be supplied. “They collect the money before they allow them to pass through their terminals to supply the crew inside ships,” he said.
Ship chandelling business is regulated by an international body known as the International Ship Suppliers Association, (ISSA) which was formed in 1955 and it is a business that is central to the existence and the social dynamics of ports and waterfront areas.–The Nation