*$14.2bn industry waiting to be tapped
20 September 2017, Sweetcrude, London — The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside has said that with the potential of the African maritime sector, competitive operating environment, proper regulation, incentives and infrastructural development; Africa would be the next maritime investment haven.
Speaking at the ongoing Africa Maritime Summit held during the London International Shipping Week 2017 in the United Kingdom, Peterside also said Africa’s share of import and export via world container throughput is on the increase on an annual basis.
Peterside, whose paper titled theme “Promoting Sustainable Investment and Financing In Africa’s Shipping & Maritime Industry” regretted the fact that Africa is still not a major player globally in maritime trade because of lack of strategic attention to the sector and pointed out that despite operating one of the largest ship registries in the world in Liberia.
He noted that Africans do not own vessels to match the corresponding statistics of the large registry
He said “We are not among top ten ship owning countries, we are not suppliers of maritime professionals and we are also not a ship financing continent.
“While an African country is among top 10 global ship registries because Liberia operates an open registry, Africans do not own vessels.
‘In fact, African countries pay 40%-70% more freight on imports and exports due to poor infrastructure, a high cost of insurance, piracy, low vessel owning capacity and poor ship connectivity”.
The NIMASA boss also noted that Ship or Vessel building as well as repairs and maintenance activities are near zero contribution to GDP of the continent and urged African countries to invest in maritime infrastructure, cooperate among themselves and explore a continental Cabotage regime as recommended in the African Maritime Transport Charter for the benefit of intra continent trade.
He explained that 38 of 54 African nations are either coastal or island states noting that the continent is one of the most endowed continents in terms mineral resources with 27% of the World’s arable lands.
“Because of our coastline of about 30,725km hosting 90 major ports and our arable lands, Africa will continue to export Agricultural produce. Marine Transport accounts for 92% of Africa’s external trades and import, but Africa handles only 6% of global seaborne traffic with 6 ports in Egypt and South Africa handling 50% of this volume” he said.
Peterside pointed out that to advance the Intra-Continent trade accounts; countries must invest in new ports and terminals infrastructure, shipbuilding, recycling, ownership and maintenance which are conservatively estimated at $14.2 billion annually.
He further stated that there was the need for a robust financing regime of the requirements for 13 Sub-Saharan Africa countries transport infrastructure, which is estimated to be $6.4 Billion and advised countries around the continent to address the acute dearth of relevant professionals in the sector.