Some of the participants at a training titled, Commercial Risk in Shipping, organized by the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping, (NCS) in Lagos last week.
Poised to build capacity in the maritime sector, the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping in collaboration with a UK-based maritime academy, Lloyds Maritime Academy has organized a two-day training titled, "Commercial Risk in Shipping".
Addressing newsmen during the training in Lagos Last week, the Director General (DG) of the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping, Barrister Obiageli Obi, said that the Nigerian maritime sector does not have the capacity to drive the industry.
She also reiterated the need to build capacity in the sector.
"The reason for the training was that a while ago, we had a caucus group meeting, and in the meeting we invited capacity builders across the sector. We had people from the university, regulators, trainers amongst others as well as people who own training facilities and we had about 30 people and we were talking about capacity building, how do we build capacity in the sector. One of things that we agreed was that we needed capacity in this sector. We do not have the capacity that was necessary to drive the industry and we really needed to build the capacity that was the first thing", she explained.
She also said that the chamber sampled opinions of many industry stakeholders to know what their challenges are.
"So the chamber decided to take the bull by the horn and we said to do this, we have to go into the industry to find out what the industry actually wanted. What area do they want this capacity building to appear? So we spoke to the banks and they said they are not interested in shipping because they have huge portfolios".
She lamented about lack of fund to stakeholders to invest in the sector even as she added that lack of fund has denied many Nigerians businesses of opportunities which eventually go to foreigners.
"We talked to operators, they said they don't have money to buy vessels to operate in the industry, they were incapacitated. And a lot of foreigners were doing Nigerian businesses and this should not be so. They wanted vessels to do the business but banks were not lending them money. We spoke to regulators they said yes, we need a fleet but we have CVFF and they are not ready to release them until some kind of structures are put on ground. So we said okay everybody needs to come together; let's look at this. We need to build capacity in this area; that was why we decided to talk about the ship financing, about the risks that are common. So we contacted Lloyds Academy in London and we went into collaboration with them and this is our first training".
She also promised that the training is going to be a quarterly event, even as she also said that the training is open for anybody that has something to do in the maritime industry.
"The training is not going to be an annual thing, because it was not easy to put this together in the first place. Probably we have to do this three times in a year or quarterly. We threw open to the industry we invited people, ship owners, bankers and every person who is involved in shipping. We just wanted that mix", she said.
She also emphasised the importance of knowledge, saying that the training was also borne out of the need for more training for stakeholders."Knowledge is power; that is one thing we all need in order to move on to the next page. We are going to have a section where we will be discussing the problems and the challenges we are having here and the way forward"
The DG said that the training will help to boost productivity and transparency in the sector.
"At the end we will be able to come out with a concise plan on how to move forward and everybody will be more informed. There will be productivity in the sector because people will know what to do and what not to do. The training will increase more businesses and transparency. We may not treat this particular course again. Probably we will have it next year because a lot of companies are saying that they want to put it in their training programme", she said.
Also speaking, the representative of Lloyds Maritime Academy, Mr. Dominic Bigott, said, said the academy has got different feedbacks from all over Europe and it wants to combine it with Nigeria’s local content.
"We have gotten different feedback from all of Europe to combine it with the local content here that is why we are her today. We are actually combining what we have in Europe"
He also applauded the idea saying that there at so many opportunities by learning in the global shipping market so there is need to learn Nigeria's local content.
"It’s good there have been great combination on daily basis and there are opportunities on the global shipping market by learning the local content of Nigeria. We are also going to have panel discussions to understand what we are going to learn more from each other", he concluded.