When we came out with our first edition for 2008, which happened to be our volume one, 10th edition, we expressed optimism that it would be a year of fulfillment for the maritime industry; a year when expectations of many (if not all) maritime industry stakeholders would be met.
As a media organisation, we had our own expectations too. Part of our expectations for the maritime industry (as expressed in our January 7th to 13th, 2008 edition) was that the issue of National Transport Commission would receive a more serious attention from both the National Assembly and the Executive.
We also expressed the hope that the abandoned project, called maritime resource centre would receive attention of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
In 2007, one of the loudest voices of neglect was that of next of kin of those who worked for many decades for the now- liquidated Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL).Some of these ex-NNSL workers could not receive their entitlements before passing on. They or their dependants are about 350.They spent the greater part of 2007 shuttling between Lagos and Abuja to secure the release of funds for the payments.
By and large, these expectations have been met. Not only has the maritime resource centre become a reality, it is in addition, housing the Regional Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (RMRCC). In it is also hearth-warming that the next of kin of the ex- NNSL workers have since received their entitlements.
It is however disappointing that the much-expected National Transport Commission (NTC) did not see the light of the day in 2008.
There are a lot of other issues that make year 2008 an admixture of the good, the bad and the not too pleasant.
Without necessarily going through them serially, we will like to put it on record that the March 17 fracas at the ENL Terminal in Lagos remains one of the darkest moments of the year. It puts a very big question on the operations of port concessionaires.
Following closely and related in a way, is the tragic death of Deputy Superintendent of Customs, Ubok Udok who committed suicide after being sacked by the management of the Nigeria Customs Service.
Late DSC Udok’s case was more pathetic because he died while waiting for his entitlement and faced with a looming ejection from his rented apartment and abandonment by his wife. Many of late Udok’s colleagues also died while waiting for this package.
Udok’s case is also a sad commentary for the Customs management; especially under the immediate past Comptroller General, Elder Jacob Gyang Buba.
By and large, the maritime sector mainly drifted in 2008, recording no spectacular achievements, that is, apart from the Regional Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre which we mentioned earlier and arguably the emergence of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding Practice. It is however not too hearth- warming that that the Council remains a Council; only on paper and not in deed.
Suffice it to state that whichever way that one chooses to look at 2008, it still remains the pathfinder for 2009.
But for us in Shipping Position family, we can boldly say that 2008 is indeed our year. Not only were we able to remain a respected member of the shipping community, we were able to add value to what we do by putting together what has now become the reference material for maritime industry stakeholders.
The public presentation of Contemporary issues in the maritime industry on October 29, 2008 has marked a watershed in the history of maritime media in Nigeria. The date also marked the one year anniversary of this newspaper. It was a day that we were honuored, celebrated and made a role model in developmental and responsible journalism.
For us, 2008 offer challenges to work harder in 2009 and that exactly is what we are going to do. Your soar away Shipping Position Weekly will be better in 2009, that is our promise.
God gave us the grace for Shipping Position Weekly to clock one year in 2008. We are surely convinced that the best is yet to come. You will surely be proud of when you read us on January 12, 2009.
From all of us, the prayer is for you to have a fun-filled Christmas celebrations and for you to enjoy a prosperous 2009. Amen.
See you in January, 2009. Amen.