By Aisha Cole
Lagos – The Chairman, Ports Consultative Council (PCC), Chief Kunle Folarin, has urged indigenous shipowners to look inwards and be innovative for sustainable solutions to the challenges facing them.
Folarin gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Friday.
According to him, the Nigerian maritime industry has the biggest opportunity to showcase the country’s potential in terms of wealth creation and employment.
“We cannot ignore a place where 5,300 vessels call in a year; 180 million tonnes of cargo; 2 million TEUs of containers; over 1million Roll On/Roll Off (RORO) vessels and we are saying we don’t have the potential in the industry.
“Capacity has been addressed by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), by the cadets they are training. The other capacity is infrastructure as well as super structure.
“About 60 per cent of the cargo in West and Central Africa region is domiciled in Nigeria, which is a huge responsibility.
“If Nigeria could not finance infrastructure and super structure development, we must have innovative ideas,” Folarin said.
He urged all shipowners to look inwards and look outside of government financing to get ships that would enable them achieve their mandate.
Folarin said there was need for shipowners to collaborate and realise their potential by forming a consortium to generate funds to buy vessels.
The PCC chieftain said shipowners should look into carriage of crude oil, saying that it was important for them to be part of the upstream trade to enable Nigeria to be the hub in West and Central Africa region.