News Shippers’ Council, AMES collaborate for 2nd maritime summit By maritimemag April 30, 2018 ShareTweet 0 From L-R: Engr. Olu Akinsoji, Barr. Hassan Bello, Engr Charles Uwadia, Engr O.A. Okunade, Engr. Emmanuel Ilori and NSC Director Sumaila From L-R: Engr. Olu Akinsoji, Barr. Hassan Bello, Engr Charles Uwadia, Engr O.A. Okunade, Engr. Emmanuel Ilori and NSC Director Sumaila The second maritime technical summit slated for Tuesday May 22nd, 2018 in Lagos received a big boost Monday when the Nigerian Shippers’ Council promised its full support for its success. The conveners of the summit, The Association of Marine Engineers and Surveyors (AMES) received the cheering news when its Executives led by its president Charles Uwadia, paid a courtesy visit to the Executive Secretary of the Council Barrister Hassan Bello in his office. The association had gone to seek the support of the Council for its upcoming summit. Barrister Bello, who extolled the relevance of the summit, promised to support the association as well as participate in the summit. Engr. Uwadia said that the summit is apt to the development of the industry adding that, the last summit held in 2016, prompted the inauguration of two committees that helped the industry. The theme of the summit is “Ship Operations in Nigeria: Technical Challenges and prospects”. Engineer Uwadia added that, if the National Transport Commission (NTC) is signed into law, it would capture the uncertainties that would put all the sectors in the industry in one direction. Meanwhile, the Council boss has declared, that, the agency was collaborating with the Nigerian Export- Import Bank for provision of a special fund in the 60 percent holding for Nigerians in the planned national carrier. Recall, that, Nigeria and Singapore had last year reached an agreement to establish a private-sector-driven national carrier with stake holding of 60 to 40 percent. Bello who is also the chairman of the Ministerial Implementation Committee for the establishment of the national shipping fleet, said the council has recommended a number of incentives to the Federal Government to help attract investment for the national carrier. He lamented that, the country does not have a single ship despite having experienced people who could run the ships, adding that, the council is also working with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to release part of the shipping development fund to help in the acquisition of the national carrier. He said it is Council’s desire to create a sustainable fleet that will work and stand the test of time, not the one that will just come and go. He said, “We got the 40 percent of technical partners for Singapore but how we could raise the 60 percent for Nigeria became almost impossible. But we have institutional money tied in NIMASA. For example, the ship development fund and other funds in NIMASA should be open to people. “Nigerian Shippers Council has been working with NEXIM bank for a very long time to set up a fleet. But we have been having the technical issues including ship yard, ship repair yard, so that we can take our ships there. It will take time because we are also waiting for report from NIMASA cleaning up the ship registry. So all these things must come together otherwise, we would be working in vain. “We don’t have a single ship in Nigeria and we have experienced people who could run this. The shipping industry is what drives the economy. National fleet must be sustainable. It is not something you go and purchase off the shelve. Of what use is national fleet that will operate for two years and then collapse? “National fleet is not buying bread. There are so many things one really needs to consider. Even the financial institutions, the insurance are very crucial to our indigenous fleet. When we have indigenous fleet, he who controls the transportation controls everything.” A member of the entourage Olu Akinsoji noted that, the industry has the potential and capacity to drive the national shipping line but needed the government to also show the political will to make the national fleet successful. “There is something that is still perennial in the matter and that is government interest in it. As much as we are in contact with NEXIM and they are ready to assist, and we also have some foreign investors coming in, they all want to see that government show some interest in the matter. “We have this development fund in NIMASA, which is not actually government’s money. It is already statutorily allocated for the development of shipping. So, if part of that money is used as a seed money to attract and demonstrate the interest of government indirectly, it will attract and make the fleet successful,” he said. Earlier, in his address, the President of AMES, Engr. Charles Uwadia, solicited the council’s support in its forthcoming Technical Summit scheduled to hold May 22nd in Lagos. He said the theme of the summit is “Ship Operations in Nigeria: Its technical, challenges and prospects”. He said, “We like to appreciate you for your achievements and also encourage you to keep the ship sailing. We have come here to solicit your support and to participate in this summit,” he quipped. Bello however, assured that, the council would support the association as well as participate in the summit. However, the Chief Host of the May 22 Summit is the Federal Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi. Some of the stakeholders at the Monday visit, aside the Executive Secretary, Hassan Bello and NSC Director, Mr. Sumaila, include the AMES President, Engineer Charles Uwadia, Engineers Olu Akinsoji, O.A Okunade and Engineer Emmanuel Ilori. © 2018, maritimemag. All rights reserved.