Why Nigeria Needs To Establish A Mega Shipyard, By Industry Stakeholders
WITH increasing ship and cargo traffic in the country, Nigerian shipping industry stakeholders have called for the establishment of a mega dockyard that will cater for the country and other West African sub-region.
According to the stakeholders, Nigeria as a major oil and maritime nation has remained a big market for bigger ocean going vessels and as such, a mega shipyard would fill the existing gap in the country.
Speaking with journalists in Lagos, maritime lawyer, Mr. Kasa Opara, said such shipyard would handle VLCCs and LNG vessels that are involved in crude oil affreightment in the country. Opara noted that apart from vessels involved in transportation of crude petroleum products, the shipyard, when established, would handle repair works of other ships involved in dry cargo trade.
According to him, the multiplier effect of having such a shipyard on the country’s economy cannot be over emphasised. He said that the establishment of such ship repair yard would be in line with both the Cabotage law and the local content policy, which aim is to promote indigenous development capacity.
Similarly, another maritime lawyer, Mr. Emma Ofomata also said such projects would excel considering the current political stability in the country. Ofomata added that the country would continue to experience huge investments, including increased cargo and vessel traffic as a result of conducive business environment made possible by the prevailing political peace.
Other industry stakeholders also harped on the strategic importance of having a ship repair yard that would take advantage of growing opportunities with increased ship and cargo traffic in the country.
Meanwhile, the clamour for a mega shipyard is coming on the heels of plans by the Nigeria LNG to promote the establishment of a $1.7billion dockyard in the country.
Described as the first of its kind, the ship repair yard will target different types of ships coming to trade in Nigeria and the West African sub-region.
The planned dockyard, which is aimed at promoting local content by NLNG, is expected to be completed in 2020 and will also take care of rigs wishing to undergo maintenance.
To other industry stakeholders, the timing appears to be right, as the existing shipyards in the region are not considered to be effective competitors since they are not physically large enough to handle VLCCs and LNG carriers.
President Muhammadu Buhari had promised to promote indigenous development in every sector, including the shipping sector, which is adjudged as next to oil in terms of contribution to the national economy.
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