Ship part

“Lack of financing pushes 95% of indigenous ship chandlers out of business” | The Guardian Nigeria News

About 95% of Nigerian ship chandlers are no longer in the industry due to financial burden and lack of government support to compete with foreigners.

This is exactly as Nigeria had lost $70 billion to foreign shipowners over the past 16 years, equivalent to $4.375 billion in annual loss.

In addition, over 5,000 direct jobs and 20,000 indirect jobs were lost during this period to foreign domination due to the federal government’s inability to design a policy that will favor local operators.

A former ship bunker, Felix Anaye-Benson, said 95% of bunkers are no longer in the industry due to the financial burden and lack of government support.

He said most of the suppliers who were driven out of the industry by their overseas counterparts are now turning to customs clearance and shipping, agriculture and other businesses to survive.

“In previous years, shipchandling was one of the branches of the maritime sector that generated foreign exchange in government coffers, because everything we do must revolve around the dollar. Today, dollars are brought abroad.

“The foreign counterparts have more financial means to send us into bankruptcy because they are supported by their government. And the shipping lines chose foreigners over us despite the fact that local content gives us the upper hand. But the law is set aside by these shipping companies and uses the services of foreigners,” he lamented.

National Chairman, National Director General’s Council of Licensed Customs Brokers (NCMDLCA), Lucky Amiwero said ship procurement faces many challenges such as the capital base as many indigenous procurement agents left the company.

“In the 1960s, 70s and 80s, ship chandling flourished in the port environment. But for now, it’s not as booming as it used to be for local sellers. So there is a need for the government to step in and see how it can play a supportive role as this is an area where a lot of foreign currency can be repatriated to the country,” he said.

According to him, the shipchandling business is supposed to be run by Nigerians as they got their licenses from the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).

“The question of foreign domination is not only synonymous with shipchandling. If you go to customs officers, you have the same problem.

The ship supply business needs some kind of government involvement to help local ship supply companies get more capital to do this job.

Further, Charles Okorefe, Advisory Managing Director of Kamany Marine Services Limited, questions why Nigerian Customs should grant licenses to foreigners to operate the business as local operators are being pushed out of the ship supply industry.

“If customs are enshrining their responsibility and believing that foreigners deserve to do more, then Nigerians who are supposed to handle the job should be shouting because we have a chandlers association but I’m not sure they still exist.

“So the problem with indigenous chandlelers is their territory and it’s their right to protect it because Nigerians can’t go to London or Italy for example and be licensed as ship’s chandlerymen,” he said. he declared.

He said Customs needs to determine the criteria for licensing shipowners as this is an indigenous thing that goes hand in hand with the Cabotage Act.

Okorefe added that ship bunkering activity must be localized for indigenous peoples, noting that there is nothing outsiders do that locals cannot do in terms of bunkering.