By Aisha Cole
The Shippers Association Lagos State (SALS) has urged the management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to assist in stopping Nigerian cargoes being diverted to ports of neighbouring countries.
The President of the association, Mr Jonathan Nicol, made the call when the executives of SALS visited NIMASA headquarters in Lagos on Wednesday.
Nicol solicited the assistance of NIMASA in improving import business through favourable import policies.
“Reduction of volume of imports has accounted for low income for NIMASA and other agencies.
“Few years back, our association made an annual income of over 30,000,000 dollars monthly.
“That was when we had over 100 vessels waiting to berth at our harbour.
“We also noticed that most of our on-board cargoes are now sent to Republic of Benin, Togo, Accra, Burkina Faso and Mauritania due to unfavourable government policies,” he said.
The shippers said that government’s policies had not been attractive, adding that the policies were also affecting NIMASA’s revenue.
Nicol explained that NIMASA’s fees were based on vessel tonnage, which he said had depleted grossly in recent times.
According to him, we need more vessels to berth, more infrastructures and that is why we are here.
Nicol commended the management of NIMASA for the bold steps being taken at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to revamp the economy of the nation.
Responding, the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside, pledged the agency’s support to enable the shippers remain in business.
Peterside, who was represented by the Director, Shipping Development of NIMASA, said that the agency had put in place measures to ensure that shippers have access to cargoes.
“NIMASA has made efforts to ensure the nation has a national carrier.
“Over 70 per cent of rated seafarers are Nigerians but they still need to develop their competency to get on board vessels,” he said.
He said that the agency had put in place measures to ensure that shippers have access to cargo and that the cargo would no longer be on Free On Board (FOB) but on Cost Insurance Freight (CIF).