Only 40% Nigerian participation in cabotage shipping trade – CEO Sea Transport
Only about 40 per cent of Nigerian participation takes place in the cabotage shipping trade, according to Alh. Aminu Umar, a former President of the Nigerian Indigenous Shipowners Association (NISA) and the CEO, Sea Transport Group.
The indigenous shipping firms are only involved in affreightment of wet cargo in the oil and gas sector with none participating in dry cargo transportation.
Umar stated this in an interview with OnePageAfrica saying: “If you look at the main purpose of enacting that act, it is really to foster growth because, really for a long period, our leaders have seen that Nigerians do not participate in this cabotage trade. If you go back in time, you will see that Nigerians were not participating, investing in this trade.
“Today, since the cabotage enactment, which only took effect in 2007, we have seen some growth in some Nigerians participating in the cabotage business, particularly in the oil and gas sector, and what we have not seen is Nigerians participating in the dry cargo carbotage trade. So far, I know that there is in the pipeline, a venture called Sealink that is geared towards participating in the cabotage trade, not only in Nigeria but, also in West African cabotage.
“So, in the oil and gas, if we go back to the wet cargo cabotage trade or the offshore services that is given to the upstream sector of the shipping or oil and gas, yes there is a growth of Nigerians participating, but it is not what is anticipated. The percentage of growth is very slow and we as associations of Nigerian shipowners have for some time been talking about this that at this stage today, more than 14 years of the cabotage, we should have a significant percentage, as it is still very low.
“If you are going to categorise the different parts of the business, if we take the wet trade, Nigerian-owned ships are not up to 40% of the market capacity. Supposedly, it should 100%. So, up till now are still within the 40% range. If you look at the offshore services, the boats that are there, the tugboats, the platform support vessels, the floating hotels and the rest, Nigerians do not constitute up to 40% there as well. So, we are still below the 50% mark, and there is nothing to celebrate. Yes, we have something but, we should actually have 100% participation.”
The cabotage shipping policy came into force in 2003 with provisions for waivers in areas where Nigerians do not have capacity.
Such waivers are to be granted by the Ministry of Transport with NIMASA implementing.
However, there have been allegations of abuse of the provisions with reports that foreign shipping companies are being favoured by both the NNPC and oil majors.