The establishment of a national fleet of vessels in Nigeria is expected to yield over $9.1 billion annually in freight revenue, according to the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC).
The Council, which was appointed by the Federal Government as the secretariat to the Nigerian Fleet Implementation Committee, said establishing a national fleet will bring in over $5.42 billion to the nation’s GDP and over $1.62 billion into the government coffers from corporate income tax through the joint venture companies.
In addition, over $1 billion in foreign direct investment will be attracted to the economy, if the national fleet is established.
Speaking during a recent visit of Adegboyega Oyetola, minister of Marine and Blue Economy to the NSC in Lagos, Rotimi Anifowose, director of Planning for the NSC, said the proposed fleet which is to be wholly private sector driven, will address the challenges of low national tonnage capacity, loss of jobs and loss of freight earnings to the international shipping lines that are doing business in Nigeria.
He also called for the amendment of the Nigerian Shippers Council Act to institute effective port economic regulation and empower the Council to work effectively.
According to him, there is a need for the actualisation of the 1 percent freight stabilisation fee for import and export for the NSC as contained in the NSC Subsidiary Legislation.
On the recent achievements of the Council, the Nigerian Shippers Council is now included in the concession agreement as the port economic regulator which was not included before.
He said the Council has been able to save the economy an average vessel demurrage of $20,000 per day, which translates to over N5.4 billion in 2022.
Anifowose said the implementation of the Nigerian Port Process Manual (NPPM) by the Port Standing Task Team, has sanitised the Joint Boarding of Vessel, Joint Cargo Examination, and Operation Free the Port Corridor.
“The activities of the team saved the Nigerian economy an average vessel demurrage of $20,000 per day between 2021 and 2022, which ultimately translated to the sum of $12,350,000 which is equivalent to N5.4 billion using the 2022 official exchange rate,” he said.
“We oversee the digitalisation and automation of port services including the cargo release process and submission of the manifest. This has enabled most shipping lines to almost complete the digitalisation of their cargo release process. In contrast, government agencies have completed their manifest release process in recognition of Shippers Council regulatory services,” he explained.
He said the Council has also saved stakeholders over N2.3 billion by effectively handling trade disputes and complaints at the port.
The Council receives complaints from regulated service providers and users through the Port Service Support Portal (PSSP). The complaints include arbitrary charges, container deposit refunds, and import and export fraud among others.
He said the Council monitors freight rates on all the nation’s trading routes in order to provide accurate data to strengthen the relationship between industry and stakeholders.
Meanwhile, at a different meeting, Oyetola said it was time Nigeria floated a national carrier, stressing that through a public-private-partnership arrangement and the support of stakeholders, such a plan would be achieved in the interest of the maritime industry and the country.
Oyetola said it will help to tackle illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, harness marine tourism, and ensure safety and security.
The Minister however said the time has come for Nigeria to fully harness its vast potential in the maritime sector.