Mr Chijioke Egwuagu, the Chairman, Nigeria Maritime Expo (NIMAREX) Planning Committee, made this known on at the ongoing 2012 NIMAREX in Lagos which attracted about 77 local and international maritime exhibitors.
According to him, “Nigeria exports about 900 million barrels of crude oil annually. Foreign vessels earn freight of about 2.25 billion dollars (N337.5 billion) a year carrying our crude oil with no freight benefit to Nigeria”.
He said Nigeria has a proven reserve of about seven trillion feet of gas with a non-stop massive export of Liquefied Natural Gas and Liquefied Petroleum Gas. This, he said, generated not less than 2 billion dollars freight earnings to foreign vessels with zero benefit to Nigeria.
“The above reflects a huge trade imbalance that needs to be undoubtedly reviewed and reversed. Nigeria, by this volume of trade qualified to be a hub of the West and Central Africa,” Egwuagu said.
The committee chairman recalled that in 2008, the nation’s import tonnage was 82 million tonnes with freight payment of 4.1 billion dollars. Egwuagu said that the tonnage in 2009 was 93.7 million tonnes with a freight cost of 4.6 billion dollars.
He added that in 2010, the tonnage was increase to 125 million tonnes with freight payment of 6.2 billion dollars. Egwuagu said that the country also incurred 7.5 billion dollars on 150 million tonnes of imports.
According to him also, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) received about 5,327 ships carrying imports with no participation of the Nigerian ships in 2011.
Egwuagu said that currently, about 520 vessels consisting of line handling tugs, crew boats, supply vessels and security patrol boats were operating in Nigeria’s upstream offshore with less than five per cent participation of Nigerian ship owners.
He further stated that the objective of NIMAREX 2012 was to attract genuine, fair minded partners, investors, maritime experts and professionals to partner with Nigerian ship owners and players in the maritime sector. Egwuagu said that this would ensure growth and development of the nation’s maritime industry