Guest speaker at the belated world maritime day celebration in held in Lagos on Wednesday, Captain Adamu Audu Biu has given reasons why Nigerian shipping business collapsed.
According to him, the Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL) went under because it was run like a typical government parastatal with all the bureaucracies, political appointments and high level of corruption.
“No shipping company would buy 19 ships at once for the simple reason that they will age at the same time. Economists would be better positioned to discuss the viability of such venture,” he said.
Biu, a former Executive Secretary of Nigeria Shippers’ Council, also said that private indigenous shipping lines did not operate with active foreign participation or partnership.
“They were literally undermined by the then conference lines who determined freight rates and even the type of cargo that was given to the Nigerian Lines – including NNSL; the very low freight cargo, they could not survive.”
Also the Master Mariner revealed that there has been a lack of political will to have Nigerian vessels involved in crude oil export.
“Unfortunately to this day, the trade terms used for our oil business are totally unfavourable to our national interest.
“Nothing but political will stops us from emulating Iraq, which gave birth to Iraqi tankers. Angola today participates with their tankers for their oil export,” he said.
He explained that shipping is a global business that cannot be domesticated or localised in any nation, adding that it is “only in the Cabotage regime that shipping is localised”.
“Even so, some allowance is usually made for foreign participation as identified by the waivers granted in the Nigerian scheme to augment shortfalls in capacity and manpower,” he said.
Big said the fate that befell NNSL also befell other African shipping lines like Black Star Lines of Ghana and Campship of Cameroon.
“It is therefore imperative that for Nigeria to scale our present economic hurdles, and consolidate our chances for future economic stability we must go back to the drawing board to revamp our shipping industry,” he said.
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