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Ship owners’ association seeks national carrier status


Lagos – The Nigeria Ship Owners Association (NISA) on Tuesday urged the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to approve its age-long application for a national carrier status.

The President of the association, Capt. Niyi Labinjo, made the plea in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

Labinjo explained that the association made the request for a license to float a mega shipping firm since 2011 but NIMASA had yet to give
approval till date.

He expressed regret that past minsters of transportation were unable to ensure that NIMASA approve the application.

According to him, Section 35 of the NIMASA Act 2007 said, “Any national shipping line in Nigeria that meets the conditions should be granted national carrier status.”

He said the national carrier status would fetch a lot of jobs for unemployed trained seafarers.

“ Foreign vessels are depriving Nigerians of employment and if the national carrier status is approved, it would stop capital fight and create a balance in maritime trade.

“By virtue of being a national carrier, is enough qualification to carry 50 per cent of government-generated cargoes.

“This comprised cargoes generated by Federal, states and local governments.

“This is different from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) 40:40:20 cargo allocation formula which came up due to agitation and the desire to correct the imbalance in cargo sharing,’’ the mariner said.

Labinjo said the UNCTAD formula had been abolished.

He said the current trend “is the World Trade Agreement (WTA) which is based on bilateral agreement between countries.’’

The mariner advised government to henceforth, go with stakeholders whenever issues of international maritime trade were to be discussed outside the country.

“It is important to go with stakeholders in shipping and aviation sectors whenever issues concerning sea trade are to be discussed,’’ Labinjo told NAN.

He said the delegation should largely consist of stakeholders like members of NISA and Aviation Round Table and less of ministers, governors and directors of maritime agencies who are technocrats. (NAN)

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