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Nigeria lost $10.6bn to foreign ships in 2021-Shippers

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Nigeria is said to have lost about $10.6 billion on freight to foreign ships in 2021 due to lack national fleet.

The loss, according to a shipper, Dr. Felix Kennedy Osaze, was quite huge on the nation’s economy, adding that the current economy of Nigeria cannot continue to experience such loses every year.

“I have been in the business of shipping and I’m a shipper for over three decades now. Since the collapse of defunct national carrier, we are been operating at the mercy of foreign ship owners. For years, the loses keep on increasing because Nigeria cannot do without import and export even though we are majorly know as an import nation.

“At 2015 to 19, Nigeria used to lose an average $9 billion as freight to foreign ship owners. But do to advent of COVID-19 where every economy of the world experienced locked down in 2020 and 2021, the cost of freight increased astronomically because most vessels could not sail due to restrictions. Only few that are sailing jacked up the freight charges, which is w caused Nigeria to pay more,” he said.

According to him, in 2021 alone, Nigeria as a maritime nation paid foreign ship owners about $10.6 billion as freight, adding that the cost of shipping a 40ft container from China to Lagos port last year increased from $7000 dollars to $14000 and $15,000.

He said this is one of the reasons Nigeria inflation keep on going up like weeds and while cost of living is on the high side.

He lamented that, it is quite embarrassing that a coastal nation like Nigeria with abundant natural resources gladly ‘will’ the transportation of its export and import cargoes to foreign carriers thereby denying the country the huge economic gains derived from maritime business.

He hinted the huge money was paid as freight for dry and wet cargo to foreign ship owners by Nigerians between 2015 and 2019 alone, which is an average of more than $8 billion annual loses. the huge money was paid as freight for dry and wet cargo to foreign ship owners by Nigerians between 2015 and 2019 alone, was an average of more than $8 billion annual loses.

He stated: “Let me give you an instance, according to the Nigerian Ports Authority statistics, between 2015 and 2019, a total 26, 147 vessels berthed at the Nigerian ports with dry cargo throughput of 372,000,000 metric tonnes and total wet cargo throughput of 613,000,000 metric tonnes.

“If we apply the NIMASA benchmark freight rate of $92.5 per metric tonnes for general dry cargo from Europe, total frieght rate of more than $34 billion was paid for the period while with a benchmark freight rate of $18 per metric tonne for crude oil to Europe, freight paid to foreign ship owners on crude oil export was more than $11 billion for the period.”

However, he described the huge money paid to foreign ship owners as an economic loss to Nigeria, as the country did not benefit zero percent as freight from carriage of its cargo due to absence of Nigerian fleet plying international trade.

Conversely, he urged the government to resuscitate the liquidated shipping lines and provide the required business environment to encourage private sector buy-in into the initiative aimed at ensuring that Nigeria regains control over its rightful place among ship owing nations of the world.


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