By Godfrey Bivbere
NIGERIAN ship owners are pushing for the control of 50 per cent of the market share of wet cargo and 80 per cent of project cargo in the oil and gas industry.
They said that at the moment, they control about 15 per cent of the market of wet cargo and 40 per cent of project cargo presently.
Disclosing this to Vanguard Maritime Report in Lagos, immediate past President of the Nigeria Shipowners Association, NISA, Aminu Umar, also decried the high level of insecurity on the nation’s waters in 2019.
Umar who called on the relevant government agencies to work at tackling the security challenge in 2020, also noted that with security in place Nigeria’s shipping industry will not only grow but could expand to the West African sub-region and even the African continent.
He stressed the need for ship owners to work closely with the Nigerian government to break into the sub-regional and continental shipping markets.
Umar said: “We should be involved in the four areas of shipping (dry cargo, wet cargo, project cargo and gas cargo) if we can, but if we cannot, we can increase both the wet cargo and project cargo carriers.
“We want to increase our capacity from the present 10 -15 per cent of the market share to 50 – 60 per cent. For the project cargo, we want to go up to 40 per cent. We should be controlling between 80 and 90 per cent of the market share of these sectors of shipping.
“We should even go beyond the nation by expanding to the sub-region and even the continent. If you look at the people in the wet cargo business, they control between 10 and 20 per cent which are owned by Nigerians. The remaining 80 to 85 per cent owned by foreigners can be international ships being brokered or managed by Nigerians.
“When you talk about safety and security, two things are involved. One is security on the waterways and the other is the safety in terms of wrecks, in terms of channels, navigational challenges.
“On security, to be honest, 2019 had been very bad in terms of vessels being attacked on Nigerian waters. Kidnapping and hijacking have recorded the highest ever. It is unfortunate that it happened in 2019, what has happened in the last quarter of 2019 has never happened in the history of shipping in Nigeria and globally.
“You heard about it when they give you stories of firms relating to pirates but this time around we have seen it happening live in Nigeria and it is very unfortunate. We look forward to seeing in 2020 that the Nigerian security agencies ensure that this kind of things do not happen again.”