BusinessDay
NigeriaDecides2023

NEXIM-backed Sealink to commence operation Q1 2023

Sealink, a shipping line in the ECOWAS region floated by a consortium of West Africa’s maritime and financial institutions, would start operating in the first quarter (Q1) 2023, BusinessDay learnt.

This comes at a time Nigeria’s effort to refloat a national shipping company after the demise of the Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL) has continued to falter.

The Sealink Project was conceived out of the need for Nigeria to have a regional shipping line, according to Tayo Omidiji, head, strategy and communication, Nigeria Export-Import Bank (NEXIM).

“The Sealink Promotional Company Limited (SPCL) is a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement established for the purpose of promoting the development of a regional sealink company that would be private sector driven,” Omidiji said in Lagos at the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN) 2022 Annual Conference themed “Boosting Domestic Capacity for Sustainable Export Earnings”.

Omidiji noted that Nigeria at present employs the services of foreign vessels to transport commodities outside the country, which is costly and has a detrimental effect on its foreign exchange revenues.

Read also: RT200 policy attracts more exporters into formal sector – CBN

He further said that using foreign vessels adds to the cost and duration of shipment because cargoes must first be transported from Nigeria to the vessels’ point of origin before being delivered to the final destination.

“If we have our own shipping line, we can move our goods from other countries and bring them directly to Nigeria before moving to other countries,” he said.

Although much had been accomplished in terms of financing the project, Omidiji said the Ebola epidemic and the difficulty to come to a partnership agreement had hindered progress.

“We later thought of further expanding the scope of the project. In addition to having a shipping project that allows moving our goods on international waters, we also felt that we should also find scope in inland waterways,” Omidiji said.

“We need to do more in terms of infrastructure to move the goods from the cities to export destinations. We need to also develop our inland waterways. We can use barges to carry goods in the absence of port materials. That was why we were finding a scope in inland waterways,” he said.