Business Hilights
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Nigerians seek results from Shippers’ Council over new national shipping line

Following delays and lack of cheering news after more than two years of the setting up of a Committee on New National Shipping Carrier by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, industry stakeholders have started asking questions.
Last Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL) was liquidated about 21 years ago after it went bankrupt with little or no ship remaining on the fleet.
Besides, some of the questions posed to the Committee include whether the scheme has been suspended the way and manner Nigeria Air was publicized only to end up in a controversial suspension by the Minister of State for Aviation, Capt. Hadi Sirika.
Business Hilights recalls that at the inauguration of the Committee on National Shipping carrier, the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shipper Council (NSC), Barr Hassan Bello was named the chairman.
For two years and several months now, the key response that usually comes from the chairman had been that the committee is that the Committee is working with PIL which is a Singaporean shipping company and noting more.
This singular narrative, according to many pundits is becoming unacceptable as time of this administration is running out with nothing tangible achieved so far in that regard after all.
Only recently, rather than giving a cheering update on the activities of the Committee in effectively setting up a truly national shipping line more than two years of the committee’s inauguration by the Minister, the Executive Secretary of NSC and chairman, on Sunday said the country was losing $9.1 billion yearly on freight revenue that would have accrued to its treasury. He said the amount was being lost to foreign ships.
Bello, who spoke on the feasibility of the proposed National Carrier, explained that foreign shipping lines were milking the country dry.
According to him, “We need to have a national carrier because of the profound economic impact it will have on our economy. We have lost so much in terms of earnings of freight to foreign shipping companies.
“Nigerians don’t operate any ship at all; that is on the part of the dry cargo. On the wet cargo, Nigerians don’t lift the crude and the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, thought that this imbalance is very dangerous to the economy.
“So he set up a committee with the Nigeria Shippers Council as chairman to lead the private sector and we started working with PIL which is a Singaporean shipping company.
Business Hilights recalls that the Committee was set up since second quarter of 2016 and since then, nothing remarkable had been achieved, thus raising fears of apparent collapse.
Though Bello’s choice is not unconnected with his knowledge of the industry and also as a versatile maritime lawyer, industry analysts are now worried that for more than two years of the Committee, there is nothing to show for it rather interviews and continued explanation of what Nigeria will gain and will lose with or without national carrier.
What is currently in the minds of maritime stakeholders is that more than two years of a committee is enough to do great works eyes can see.