Maritime experts have called for investment in new technologies and modern ships to reduce the impact of shipping and maritime-related activities on climate change in Africa.
According to them, African maritime administrations must put regulations in place to drive investment in new technologies and encourage the acquisition of modern ships for greener shipping.
Speaking on “new technologies for greener shipping in Africa,” at the 7th International Maritime Business to Business Conference and Exhibition 2022, Tuesday in Lagos, Kunle Folarin, chairman of the Port Consultative Council, observed that the majority of vessels flying African flags were old as they fall within the age of 15 and 25 years.
According to him, this makes ships flying African flags less environmentally-friendly in terms of emissions when compared to vessels registered and flying the flags of most developed nations.
Folarin who noted that the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has been working to reduce the impact of the global marine industry on climate change by regulating exhaust emissions, anti-fouling, and ballast water among others, called on local African maritime administrations to follow suit and enforce the acquisition of newer ships.
He said that the shipping industry would become more environmentally-friendly by regulation, which is why the IMO proposed a 2020 Sulfur limit for ships.
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Emmanuelle Blatmann, ambassador of France to Nigeria, commended the conference organisers for focusing on enabling African nations to move towards a greener footprint in the shipping industry.
She said the topic of discussion reflects the challenges that the shipping industry has to meet to remain one of the most dynamic and diverse economic activities in terms of shipbuilding, port infrastructure, administration, and cyber security.
She, however, said that the introduction of new patterns in shipping can only be achieved if maritime routes are secured for seafarers and goods to trade.
Blatmann commended Nigeria for setting an example in the West African region with the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Act (SOPOMO Act) in the fight against piracy.
In her address, Oritsematosan Edodo Emore, chairman of Zoe Maritime Resources Ltd, said that the maritime policies of African countries must undergo a paradigm shift from dwelling on individual modes of transport and development in silos to a new strategy that embraces an integrated transport system that takes technology into account.
According to her, African countries must develop their ports, which are a significant part of shipping infrastructure that stimulate trade and generate revenue for the government, and jobs for the populace, to become efficient.
While expressing concerns over the development of Lekki Port without rail connection and an alternative road network for cargo exit, she called for reconsideration of the modalities for establishing deep seaports in Nigeria.