12 June 2015, Lagos – Shipping industry stakeholders have emphasised the urgent need for the establishment of a mega dockyard that will cater for Nigeria and other West African sub-region in a growing shipping trade.
Noting that Nigeria as a major oil and maritime nation has remained a big market for bigger ocean going vessels, the industry experts said such shipyard will fill the existing gap in the country.
Maritime lawyer, Mr. Kasa Opara, also highlighted the benefits of such shipyard, noted that it will handle Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs) and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) vessels that are involved in affreightment in the country.
Apart from vessels involved in transportation of petroleum products, Opara said that the shipyard when established will handle repair works of other ships involved in dry cargo trade.
According to him, the multiplier effect on the national economy with such dockyard cannot be ignored by the country.
He said that the establishment of such ship repair yard would be in line with both the Cabotage law and the local content policy, which aim is to promote indigenous development capacity.
Similarly, another maritime lawyer, Mr. Emma Ofomata also said such projects will excel considering the current political stability in the country.
Ofomata added that the country will continue to experience huge investments, including increased cargo and vessel traffic in the country as a result of conducive business environment made possible by political peace.
Many industry stakeholders had stressed the strategic importance of having a ship repair yard that will take advantage of growing opportunities with increased ship and cargo traffic in the country.
Meanwhile, the clamour for a mega shipyard is coming on the heels of plans by the Nigeria LNG to promote the establishment of a $1.7billion dockyard in the country.
Described as the first of its kind, the ship repair yard will target different types of ships coming to trade in Nigeria and the West African sub-region.
The planned dockyard, which is aimed at promoting local content by NLNG is expected to be completed in 2020 , and will also take care of rigs wishing to undergo maintenance.
To other industry stakeholders, the timing appears to be right as the existing shipyards in the region are not considered to be effective competitors since they are not physically large enough to handle VLCC s and LNG carriers .
President Muhammadu Buhari had promised to promote indigenous development in every sector, including the shipping sector which is adjudged as next to oil in terms of contribution to the national economy.
– This Day