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Unemployment : Youths find solace in timber export



It”s been so treated in Nigeria .We don’t even give it a thought that it takes time for it to be naturally nurtured .

Nigeria does not only have a very poor economic structure, the leaders also believe that God, the timber planter will always plant new ones. So, the people live their lives, mowing the timbers down, without planting new ones. ‘God will plant new ones’.

The average Nigerians have special love for teak, mahogany and melina; and so always mowed it down, sometimes, even at premature stage; either to be used for building constructions, bridges, furniture making, farming tools and firewood etc, until some smart ones realized that if the item could be exported, they could immediately begin to smile to the banks, at the expense of the forest. Since then, the nation’s forest has known no rest, with even sometimes, the operatives of the forest conservation agencies, joining in the rush, resulting in massive deforestation, with no visible plans, beyond the periodic and uncoordinated campaigns by political leaders urging for planting of trees.

The International Trade Monitor learnt that the rush for the Nigerian timber started on a gradual note, with some going towards the United Kingdom , USA and Japan . But the market trend grew into such frenzy capable of adversely affecting the nation’s naturally green environment, thereby forcing the Government to intervene; setting up new restrictions which though, outrightly banned the exportation of logs, but still allowed the same timber to be exported after being processed: cut up to certain sizes, and treated or seasoned with some kind of chemicals.

Perhaps, this new requirements could have become a set back for the exporters, but for the arrival of the Chinese, whose appetite for wood products appeared insatiable, until recently. Fortunately, the major outfit which could have led a protest for the protection of the trees, the newsprint producers at Oku Iboku, also went under, leaving the fields, dangerously open!

Subsequently, an enviable group of market-ers have appeared on the horizon, merchan-dizing on woods. Investigations showed that most of them were presently based around Ikorodu in Lagos State and Abeokuta-Ijebu Ode axis in Ogun State; and from where they travel to as far as Kogi, Edo, Osun, Ondo and Benue States in the bid to hunt out the woods, assemble them at their dedicated sawmills, got them “seasoned” or “processed”, before cutting them up, for final destination outside the country.

A reliable source told the International Trade Monitor (ITM) that not fewer than five containers of the 20 feet size normally departed each of the numerous base in Lagos , for a Lagos Port

The wood export business has provided job opportunity for a number of youths who are now going into saw mill business in , Ijebu-Ode, Sagamu, Ondo, Ikorodu and many other coastal cities, from where they are now transferring containers laden with processed timber th the ports for export.

One of the young exporter of timber told International Trade Monitor in his Ikorodu sawmill, few days ago, that he went into timber export business when he could not secure a suitable job after graduating from the Lagos state University Seven years ago.

“You see, my friend introduced me to this business. After Seven years of graduation, I could not secure a job, but I thank God that this my friend, Lati came to my house one day and told me about this business. I was not willing to join him initially, but he was able to convince me that I will forget about white collar job if I can take some time off to his saw mill along Ijebu-Ode road one day to see how much he was making from the business. One day I was feeling bored at home and I decided to visit him. When I got there, I saw him with one Chinese who was supervising the loading into container and I asked my friend what he was doing with the oyibo man and he said he was his business partner. That moment I became interested, but my friend said I have to learn the trade for one year before I can go on my own. I agreed, and I was following them to the bush in far away Kogi, Kwara, Edo and the rest. At the end of the day my friend will just offer a token for my transport and feeding. That was how I learn the trade and today I am on my own making good morney for myself because I have established contact not only in China , but other countries where I am now receiving request for supply, but the kind of wood they asking for is hard to get here, but all the same I am enjoying the business, it is better than being jobless.”

The young man , who gave his name simply as Moruf, said he now has confident in himself ,hence his plan to now take a wife. “I am earning good money now, so I am confident in myself that I can conveniently take a wife and I am about to do so now. The way I came into this business, that is how many of this young people came in. you can see that we are, but wait why are you even asking me all these question? I hope you are not trying to spoil our business with what you are going to write? Please don’t do so because I don’t want to go into unemployment again o. Please tell the government to give us loan to expand our business, if we have good money now, we can even add more value to wood we are exporting , and we can earn more from that. On the challenges associated with the business, he said, please tell the police not to be extorting money from us on the road again. Sometimes I can spend up to N50, 000 on the police between Kogi and Lagos to get a lorry load of timber to this saw mill and some of them used to come here for settlement. But we are not doing illegal business here. So please tell the police to leave us alone, Moruf appealed

But tour usually reliable source also noted that the business of timber export may soon suffer a setback, as the Chinese were now complaining that Nigeria was supplying only the hard woods type, rather than a blend, accommodating various kinds.

“Business is no longer like before again. There was a time we used to send at least five container loads daily, to the port. But now, it is no longer so. The Chinese are complaining that we supply only one kind of hard wood. They want teak and melina.

“But, how can anyone be talking of Melina when we sometimes have to travel as far as Port Harcourt, to access unripe mahogany” he confessed, stressing that the buyers thought they planted woods; and therefore enjoy the privilege of cutting them at will for export”.


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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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