Captain Alfred Oniye (Secretary General, MESAN)
The establishment of a national fleet could bring substantial economic benefits to Nigeria. For instance, between 2015 and 2019, the country’s shippers paid $45 billion as freight charges. A significant portion of this money could have been saved if the nation had a national fleet for crude oil affreightment. The establishment of a national fleet is not just a matter of national pride, but a strategic necessity for Nigeria. It would allow the country to take control of its external trade, create jobs, develop skills, and save billions of dollars in freight charges. The call for the return of the national fleet has intensified recently, and it is high time for Nigeria to heed this call and take its rightful place in the global maritime sector.
Pius Ujubonu (ANLCA Chieftain)
The floating of a National fleet in Nigeria is necessary if not for anything, but for playing an active role and participating in the cargo quota. Another important reason Nigeria requires a national fleet is the diplomatic fulfillment of flying Nigeria’s flag in the comity of national carriers. This will contribute to boosting trade in Nigeria’s economy.
Dr. Segun Musa (Deputy National President, Air and Logistics, NAGAFF)
Sure, we need a national fleet not just for getting fair share of cargo or earning income or for technology transfer. We however need a national fleet to position our country strategically as a shipping county. Unfortunately, it is not a fire brigade approach that is required for the realization of this dream. Rather, effective stakeholders’ engagement would ensure it doesn’t turn out to be another failure or avenue for fraudulent intentions.
Captain Tajudeen Alao (National President, Master Mariners Association)
Our position has always been that we desire and deserve a national fleet. This is because it has a multiplier effect on our economy. If as the giant of Africa, we leave the industry to the private sector saying the government has no business in doing business. We totally disagree with that because we have the manpower and know how to charter and acquire ships and to run a shipping company. We have done it before. There is no reason we cannot do it again. The ship acquisition fund was meant for that purpose which has been replaced by the CVFF. However we want to do it, Nigeria must have a national fleet.
Francis Omotosho (Registrar, NAGAFF Academy)
Definitely, Nigeria needs viable national fleet carrier. There is no way we can call ourselves a maritime nation without participating in the lifting and carriage of goods across international frontiers. Honestly, having our own flag vessel carrier; will surely strengthen our Naira and save the country of our hard earned foreign currency from cash-out flow; which in turn will increase our proceed cash-inflow deposited in our collective national foreign reserve account at the Central Bank of Nigeria. This promise by the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy to revitalize our national ocean fleet will proffer solutions to the high cost of our national logistics systems and help to properly coordinate the international supply chain systems in Nigeria.
Frank Obiekezie (National Secretary, AREFFN)
I believe it is just wishful thinking. It is just a way to pretend to be working. Floating a national shipping line is not a child’s play. The other time they told us they wanted to establish Nigeria Airways but what did they do? They went to Ethiopia and rented a plane and poorly printed it in Nigerian colour. So, where did that project end? Then somebody had the guts to come back a few months later to tell us he wants to float a National shipping line. Look, the people who say that the government has no business in business are not wrong. Tell me what we have managed as a country successfully. We are deceiving ourselves. Why are we bothered about that? The Government should encourage the private people; create the enabling environment and necessary regulatory framework. Let these people thrive. Nigeria will be better for it. Then the government will have enough time and even resources to devote to those things that the government is required to provide. We don’t need a place where corruption will grow horns again. Going for a National shipping line at this time will be a misplaced priority now.
Babatunde Mukaila (Immediate Past National Secretary, ANLCA)
The plan to revitalize the National Shipping Line by the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy is a welcome development. Having a National Line will enhance Nigeria’s productivity ratio specifically in the Maritime context. The establishment of a national Line in Nigeria will also enhance the creation of employment opportunities for the teeming youths and Nigerians at large.