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ECOWAS Meets Shippers Council Over Low Trade

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The ECOWAS Monitoring Task Force on the implementation of ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) met with the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) to deliberate on the low trade in the West African region.
The spokesperson of the delegation, Mr Nwagwu Julius, made the disclosure when the task force paid courtesy visit to the NSC in Abuja, recently.
“This is the ECOWAS task force set up by the ECOWAS heads of state, arising from the realisation that the ECOWAS region has made some progress in terms of political integration of the region.
“However, the main focus of the establishment of ECOWAS in 1975, which is economy integration, has been lagging behind.
“Whereas many other regions have made some appreciable progress in terms of trade, to the extent of revolving their inter regional trade to about 45 per cent above, unfortunately, the West African inter regional trade stands between 10 and 12 per cent.”
According to him, the task force has been going on advocacy visit to all the 15 neighbouring countries including Nigeria since 2017.
Responding, the Executive Secretary of NSC, Hassan Bello said the shippers council has been statutorily empowered to ensure that condition of liberal trade is carried out, especially in Nigeria, to remove all barriers affecting trade.
He said that Nigeria has not been able to standardise the issue of infrastructure, stating that the task force was a good idea.
According to him, the council is canvassing for common laws on the issue of adjudication in the area of conflict resolution.
“We are protecting the interest of shippers in their trade and also the private sector to move the economy forward; it is important that the private sector is introduced to trade.
“The NSC ensures free flow of goods, we remove barriers, increase trade, we implement the measures of international trade by introducing dry port to decongest seaport.
“The dry port will remove a lot of barriers to ease trade and cost of trade, we also promote the establishment of truck transit parks,” the NSC boss said.

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Maritime

FG Unveils Incentives For Indigenous Ship Owners

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The Federal Government says it will soon unveil incentives for indigenous ship owners in the country.
The Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Emmanuel Jime, disclosed this recently while hosting members of the Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA) in his office in Apapa, Lagos,
Jime, who assured indigenous ship owners that the Federal Government will soon unveil incentives to enable them acquire and maintain ships, listed the incentives to include zero import duty of vessels, abolition of the controversial temporary importation permit imposed by the Nigeria Customs Service, and setting up of a Shipping Sector Support Fund.
“Ship ownership, to me, represents a central place in the maritime industry. I can also go further to say that if Nigeria is actually going to take its rightful place and be recognized as a maritime hub, then ship ownership would become topical as far as the industry is concerned.
“So, that, to me, is the reason I consider this visit as one of the most important engagements I’ve had since my arrival in this assignment”, he said.
He noted that unless the Nigerian ship owning community grows and becomes competitive enough to take centre stage as far as shipping activities are concerned, Nigeria will not derive maximum value from the maritime industry.
According to him, the Nigerian Fleet Implementation Committee has been saddled with the responsibilities of mobilizing the public and private sectors in a bid to establish a strong ship ownership community in the country.
“We have also been mandated to develop a framework that would support the establishment of a sustainable Nigerian Fleet.
“Also, we are given the responsibility to develop strategies that will incentivise. In other words, incentives that are needed to be put in place. These are strategies that will engender incentives for ship owners.
“We are also saddled with the responsibility to set out action items that would encourage the development of ship building and ship repair facilities. Then, we will provide guidelines and recommendations to augment the maritime manpower capacity.
In response to what the stated incentives are, he said, “the first, which I believe, is topical and and which  we have been discussing is the ability to access zero import duty of vessels.
“I know that part of that has been achieved, but there are lots more to go down the road to abolish temporary importation permit to impose stringent measures. This concerns the Nigeria Customs Service.
“We believe that the key incentive is the Shipping Sector Support Fund. We are talking of shipping and it is an area that is highly capital intensive. So, if you are able to put that job of the fund in place as an incentive, other things would be easier. We also believe that waiver of export tariffs for the use of Nigerian vessels is also key,” he concluded.

By: Chinedu Wosu

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Maritime

Rivers Dockworkers Want More Vessels in Eastern Ports

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Dockworkers working with terminal operators in Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Rivers Port Complex, have  called on the Authority to bring more sea going vessels to the Eastern Ports to boost maritime activities in the region.
They noted that improved maritime activities in Eastern ports would create employments and increase the welfare and salaries of the workers.
Making the call in an exclusive interview at the weekend in Port Harcourt, a Trustee of the Dockworkers, and Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Comrade Harry Waite, said the more Federal Government and NPA bring vessels to the Ports, it would enhance and improve the living conditions of dockworkers in the state and beyond.
“We are trying to tell NPA to make sure that the Eastern Ports are empowered by bringing more vessels to the Ports, so that  dockworkers would see work to do in the terminals”.
“The more NPA brings vessels to the ports, the more dockworkers can work and earn their living”, Harry said.
While noting that Dockworkers are neither staff of government nor NPA, he said they are labour employers in private companies under the terminal operations operating in the Ports.
“Improvement in the life of the Dockworkers are in the hands of their employees, not government, and they can only improve when more vessels start coming to the four Eastern ports through the efforts of NPA.
“The more NPA brings in vessels to ports, the more the terminal operators will increase salaries and welfare of the dockworkers in the terminals”, he said.

Stories By: Chinedu Wosu

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Maritime

Lekki Seaport Begins Operations In 4th Quarter – Dabiri

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Chairman, Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Limited, Abiodun Dabiri, says the Port would commence commercial operations by the fourth quarter of 2022.
Dabiri said the ongoing dredging and reclamation works have reached 89.93 percent, while the building of quay walls has reached 85.65 percent.
Making this revelation recently, while presenting Lekki Port completion status report to newsmen in Lagos, Dabiri said with 16.5meter draught, Lekki Port will be one of the deepest in West and Central Africa.
He noted that with the completion rate at 80 percent, construction work may end at the third quarter 2022 and would be feasible, while commercial operations will commence by the fourth quarter of 2022 as planned.
“We understand the significance of this project to the Nigerian economy and we would not fail to play our part to ensure that it is delivered as and when due.
“Nigeria has lost its hub status to Lome Port due to the shallowness of the draft and archaic infrastructure at the Apapa and Tin-Can Island Ports”, he noted.
The report further stated that the effort to complete construction works at the breakwater has gained significant improvement as it now stands at 79.66 percent, while the construction of the landside infrastructure at the port has gained significant attention as it now stands at 67.82 percent.
Upon completion, Dabiri said, Lekki Port would be a world-class port operating with best-in-class equipment to ensure seamless operations and would comply with global environmental protection standards.
He added that Lekki Port is the deepest seaport in the sub-Saharan African region and would serve as a transhipment hub for the region.
Earlier, Acting Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko, said the agency has commenced the process of acquiring all necessary marine equipment.
Bello-Koko assured stakeholders that the agency is ready to play its part to ensure the smooth takeoff of Port operations upon completion of construction.
“NPA has commenced the process of acquiring all necessary marine equipment, including tug boats and mooring boats”, he said.

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