The Director, Commercial Shipping Services of Nigeria Shippers’ Council, (NCS) Mrs. Dabney Shall-Homa has asked the Federal Government not to grant monopoly for handling certain types of cargoes, which some have classified as oil and gas cargo, to Intels Nigeria Limited, which operates primarily in Onne, Delta and Calabar ports.
Shall-Homa gave the advice at an industry stakeholders meeting with the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi last week in Lagos.
She said, “If there is any agreement which has been signed as a contract between parties, there is need for government to tinker with the contract because the intendment of that contract is to create a cartel and not to create a level playing field which is the spirit for concessioning.
“The concession agreement that were made has certain critical pillars. One of those critical pillars is to ensure that there is no evidence of monopoly and abuse of dominant position and to create a level playing field and in doing so competition will be promoted between the players.”
She also argued that there is no cargo classification known as oil and gas in any part of the world. She said seaport terminals are classified as multipurpose, container, bulk or general cargo terminals.
“We have been in this shipping industry for 32 years going forward. There has never been any classification as oil and gas.
“When we put that on our gazzete as shippers’ council seeking to identify cargo coming into Nigeria and we distinguish oil and gas, we were asked by our colleagues internationally from which index did you get oil and gas?
“Is there any cargo or terminal called oil and gas cargo? Multipurpose they call it, which could handle anything.
“We have the general cargo terminals, bond cargo terminals and containerised terminals. That is how terminals are classified internationally and Nigeria cannot be an island because we are trading with others,” she said.
Also speaking, former Minister of Interior, Capt. Emmanuel Iheanacho advised Amaechi to concentrate on opening up the market for different players adding that it would not be fair to restrict the market to a number of people.
According to him, the market should be opened to pave way for competition so that people can have a choice.
“If we say because there are agreements made in the past and we can’t speak beyond the agreement, we are never going to make progress. What we want is a market where people can openly compete on the basis of the quality of service that they can render.
“Supposing an operator was located in Lagos and prefers to receive his oil cargo in Lagos but there is a law which says the cargo has to be delivered in Port Harcourt or Warri; is that fair? That will introduce extraordinary cost that will ultimately be borne by Nigerians who need the services,” the former Interior Minister said.
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