Finally, Federal Government approves concession of NIMASA floating dockyard 4 years after
…Says initiative will save Nigeria N300billion, build human capacity
Four years after its acquisition, the Federal Government has finally approved the concessioning of the N50 billion floating dockyard owned by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
The floating dockyard, which was acquired in 2018 and has been idling away since its acquisition for more than four years, was concessioned to a company known as J. Marine Logistics Limited.
Michael Ohiani, director general of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), who disclosed this in Abuja recently, said the contract for the concession of the floating dockyard will enable the concessionaire to operate, maintain and transfer back the floating dockyard after an initial period of 15 years.
According to him, the concessioning of the floating dockyard is expected to generate $65.6 million, about N27.2 billion, into the coffers of NIMASA and to create over 800 direct and indirect jobs.
Beyond revenue generation, he said, the floating dockyard is also expected to develop capacity and provide maintenance facilities for ships and boats.
Putting the floating dock into use will provide a lot of benefits to the maritime industry. This ranges from conserving foreign exchange to providing employment and boosting indigenous capacity, developing shipping, and providing training exposure for students of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, and the Maritime University, Okerenkoko.
To shipowners, putting the floating dockyard into use holds serious positive economic implications for the nation’s shipping business, which presently depends on other countries to dry-dock both Nigerian and foreign-flagged vessels that do business on Nigerian waters.
Currently, there are no serious dry-docking facilities in Nigeria. This is why many Nigerian shipowners go to countries like Ghana, South Africa, Senegal, and Namibia among others to repair their vessels in line with the international law as specified by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which requires every vessel to dry-dock once in three years in order to retain their safety classification and insurance cover.
It is estimated that Nigeria will be saving about N300 billion in losses to capital flight on yearly basis.
Shipowners said that it costs between $1.5 million to $1.8 million to tow a vessel to countries like Singapore for repair while it costs between $300,000 and $500,000 to dry-dock a vessel in the international market, hence the need for more dry-docking facilities in-country.
There are a lot of business opportunities for the private sector partner that would take charge of managing the floating dock. Currently, Cabotage vessels and other vessels flying Nigerian flags take their ships abroad for repair. But with the coming of a dry-docking facility that is in-country, owners of such vessels would jump at servicing their vessels in Nigeria.