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FG bemoans unwholesome practices by foreign shipping companies

The Federal Government has bemoaned the unwholesome practises of some foreign shipping companies as regards surcharges on shippers bringing in cargoes to Nigerian seaports.

Delivering a keynote address during the World Maritime Day 2016 celebration held in Lagos on Wednesday, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi explained that the government was not mindful of the unwholesome practices of some of these foreign shipping companies which has been noted to be in collaboration with local shipping companies.

According to the Minister of Transportation, “Government is not mindful of the unwholesome practices of some foreign shipping companies and their local collaborators operating within the sub-region, who often impose additional surcharges on shippers without prior consultation with relevant government agencies.

“Therefore, due to this anomaly, there is the need to mobilise resources to adequately equip indigenous services providers to provide services at competitive prices. This has been identified and would be vigorously pursued.”

On the myriad of challenges facing the maritime industry in Nigeria, Amaechi explained that, “the maritime industry in Nigeria is faced with myriad of challenges bordering on non-competitiveness, low level of investment, absence of requisite funding, low implementation and enforcement of existing laws in the sector and high charges among others.

“All these challenges place the country in a disadvantaged position compared to ports of neighbouring countries within the West and Central African sub-region.”

Meanwhile operators took the opportunity of the World Maritime Day celebration to lament the high insurance premium payments made by vessels that call at Nigeria’s seaports.

In the words of a Master Mariner and former Executive Secretary/CEO of the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Captain Adamu Audu Biu, security of Nigeria’s waterways was a phenomenon that must be addressed decisively and urgently if foreign participation is to be expected at the nations shipping industry.

“Presently, ship-owners and charterers are made to pay insurance premium of up to $100,000.00 per vessels call to any Nigerian port. This payment is called ‘War risk’.

“This is a very serious embarrassment to the nation as we are not at war. It also adds to inflation in the country as ship owners simply find a way to pass this bill to the cargo interest,” Captain Biu lamented.