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NSC Emphasizes Commitment to End Diversion of Cargoes



THE Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has reiterated plans to strengthen complaints and arbitration mechanism as part of measures to make the port environment friendly for business.

Executive Secretary of NSC, Hassan Bello, who spoke in Lagos, also expressed the determination of his management team to end diversion of cargoes to neigbouring countries, make Nigerian ports more efficient and generates more revenue.

According to Bello, effective regulation requires much more than just competent economic and financial analysis “but must also manage often complex interaction with the regulated firms, consumers, politicians, courts, the media, and a range of other interests”.

He said regulator need to provide a level playing field amongst competitors, adding that regulators need to be independent, transparent, legitimate and credible.

On regulation, Bello said Professional development of staff of regulatory agencies is essential, adding that the involvement of stakeholders is an important source of legitimacy and public acceptability for regulatory agencies and their decision-making procedures.

He explained that the global competitiveness of Nigerian Ports has a major role to play in the attraction of Foreign Direct Investment.

He said: “ Port Reform no doubt has brought in tremendous benefits to the national economy. However, there is still the need to harness other potential areas of the Port Sector with a view to bring down the cost of doing business and enthrone efficiency”.

He said a new port has been designed to “eliminate all the wastages in the system so that the cost of doing business is reduced.”

He added: “The owner of the cargo should know when his cargo is due to arrive so that he can prepare well in advance to make arrangements to clear his goods in good time.

“As the ship is discharging, the cargo is also being scanned, and the image is used by the Customs Service to commence clearing process in terms of segregating the cargo for whatever line of inspection in line with customs’ procedures introduced for security measures”, said Bello.

The NCS boss identified Nigeria’s competitors as Cotonou, Ghana, Cameroun, among others, adding that  Nigeria is suffering cargo loss to these countries due to diversion by some importers.

According to him, with improved efficiency and cost effectiveness,  Nigerian importers who use neighbouring ports from where they smuggle their goods into the country  would find Nigerian ports attractive.

Bello said when Nigeria terminal charges are compared with Benin Republic, that of Nigeria is more by N38,695 for 20 feet containers and N39,695 for 40 feet containers.

Explaining further, he said compared with the Republic of Benin, Ghana and Cameroun, Nigeria has the lowest free storage period of three days, adding that this informed the NSC’s decision to increase it to seven days.

According to information made available by Bello, Nigeria also ranks lowest in the free demurrage period when compared with the Republic of Benin, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Namibia at three days. The highest is Namibia with 15 days.

Terminal operators, under the aegis of  Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), have repeatedly described allegations of arbitrary increased in charges as unfounded and a ‘very wrong notion”.

According to the group, after the concessioning exercise in 2006, concessionaires were compelled to cut down on what Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) was charging by 30 per cent, adding that since then there has been adjustment of terminal operators’ charges only once “and that was done with the approval of the Federal Government”.

Akinola said: “ We don’t impose arbitrary charges. We operate in a highly regulated environment. Don’t forget that Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) have always been they’re overseeing what we do”.

He added: “When the terminal was concessioned in 2006, concessionaires were compelled to cut down on what NPA was charging by 30%. So, there was an automatic reduction of terminal handling charges by 30% in 2006 and it remained so for a very long time.

“Since then, there has been adjustment of terminal operators’ charges only once and that was done with the approval of the Federal Government. In essence, in eight  years, charges have been adjusted only once to make up for inflation and exchange rate. It wasn’t even an increase”.



WAIVER CESSATION: Igbokwe urges NIMASA to evolve stronger collaboration with Ships owners



…Stresses the need for timely disbursement of N44.6billion CVFF***

Highly revered Nigerian Maritime Lawyer, and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mike Igbokwe has urged the Nigeria Maritime Administration and safety Agency (NIMASA) to partner with ship owners and relevant association in the industry to evolving a more vibrant merchant shipping and cabotage trade regime.

Igbokwe gave the counsel during his paper presentation at the just concluded two-day stakeholders’ meeting on Cabotage waiver restrictions, organized by NIMASA.

“NIMASA and shipowners should develop merchant shipping including cabotage trade. A good start is to partner with the relevant associations in this field, such as the Nigeria Indigenous Shipowners Association (NISA), Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Oil Trade Group & Maritime Trade Group of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).

“A cursory look at their vision, mission and objectives, show that they are willing to improve the maritime sector, not just for their members but for stakeholders in the maritime economy and the country”.

Adding that it is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a through briefing and regular consultation with ships owners, in other to have insight on the challenges facing the ship owners.

“It is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a thorough briefing and regular consultations with shipowners, to receive insight on the challenges they face, and how the Agency can assist in solving them and encouraging them to invest and participate in the maritime sector, for its development. 

“NIMASA should see them as partners in progress because, if they do not invest in buying ships and registering them in Nigeria, there would be no Nigerian-owned ships in its Register and NIMASA would be unable to discharge its main objective.

The Maritime lawyer also urged NIMASA  to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF)that currently stands at about N44.6 billion.

“Lest it be forgotten, what is on the lips of almost every shipowner, is the need to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (the CVFF’), which was established by the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act, 2003. It was established to promote the development of indigenous ship acquisition capacity, by providing financial assistance to Nigerian citizens and shipping companies wholly owned by Nigerian operating in the domestic coastal shipping, to purchase and maintain vessels and build shipping capacity. 

“Research shows that this fund has grown to about N44.6billion; and that due to its non-disbursement, financial institutions have repossessed some vessels, resulting in a 43% reduction of the number of operational indigenous shipping companies in Nigeria, in the past few years. 

“Without beating around the bush, to promote indigenous maritime development, prompt action must be taken by NIMASA to commence the disbursement of this Fund to qualified shipowners pursuant to the extant Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (“CVFF”) Regulations.

Mike Igbokwe (SAN)

“Indeed, as part of its statutory functions, NIMASA is to enforce and administer the provisions of the Cabotage Act 2003 and develop and implement policies and programmes which will facilitate the growth of local capacity in ownership, manning and construction of ships and other maritime infrastructure. Disbursing the CVFF is one of the ways NIMASA can fulfill this mandate.

“To assist in this task, there must be collaboration between NIMASA, financial institutions, the Minister of Transportation, as contained in the CVFF Regulations that are yet to be implemented”, the legal guru highlighted further. 

He urged the agency to create the right environment for its stakeholders to build on and engender the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders.

“Lastly, which is the main reason why we are all here, cessation of ministerial waivers on some cabotage requirements, which I believe is worth applause in favour of NIMASA. 

“This is because it appears that the readiness to obtain/grant waivers had made some of the vessels and their owners engaged in cabotage trade, to become complacent and indifferent in quickly ensuring that they updated their capacities, so as not to require the waivers. 

“The cessation of waivers is a way of forcing the relevant stakeholders of the maritime sector, to find workable solutions within, for maritime development and fill the gaps in the local capacities in 100% Nigerian crewing, ship ownership, and ship building, that had necessitated the existence of the waivers since about 15 years ago, when the Cabotage Act came into being. 

“However, NIMASA must ensure that the right environment is provided for its stakeholders to build and possess the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders. Or better still, that they are solved within the next 5 years of its intention to stop granting waivers”, he further explained. 

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Breaking News: The Funeral Rites of Matriarch C. Ogbeifun is Live



The Burial Ceremony of Engr. Greg Ogbeifun’s mother is live. Watch on the website: and on Youtube: Maritimefirst Newspaper.

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Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured



…As Valles Steamship Orders 112,000 dwt Tanker from South Korea***

A wind farm supply vessel and a cargo ship collided in the Baltic Sea on Tuesday leaving 15 injured.

The Cyprus-flagged 80-meter general cargo ship Raba collided with Denmark-flagged 31-meter wind farm supply vessel World Bora near Rügen Island, about three nautical miles off the coast of Hamburg. 

Many of those injured were service engineers on the wind farm vessel, and 10 were seriously hurt. 

They were headed to Iberdrola’s 350MW Wikinger wind farm. Nine of the people on board the World Bora were employees of Siemens Gamesa, two were employees of Iberdrola and four were crew.

The cause of the incident is not yet known, and no pollution has been reported.

After the collision, the two ships were able to proceed to Rügen under their own power, and the injured were then taken to hospital. 

Lifeboat crews from the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service tended to them prior to their transport to hospital via ambulance and helicopter.

“Iberdrola wishes to thank the rescue services for their diligence and professionalism,” the company said in a statement.

In the meantime, the Hong Kong-based shipowner Valles Steamship has ordered a new 112,000 dwt crude oil tanker from South Korea’s Sumitomo Heavy Industries Marine & Engineering.

Sumitomo is to deliver the Aframax to Valles Steamship by the end of 2020, according to data provided by Asiasis.

The newbuild Aframax will join seven other Aframaxes in Valles Steamship’s fleet. Other ships operated by the company include Panamax bulkers and medium and long range product tankers.

The company’s most-recently delivered unit is the 114,426 dwt Aframax tanker Seagalaxy. The naming and delivery of the tanker took place in February 2019, at Namura Shipbuilding’s yard in Japan.

Maritime Executive with additional report from World Maritime News

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