Maritime Sector’s Potential to Eclipse Oil Revenue

Potential Economic Powerhouse: Maritime Industry Awaits Federal Boost

by Oluwatosin Racheal Alabi

Princess Vicky Haastrup, the Chairman of the Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), has made a significant statement regarding the future of Nigeria’s maritime sector. During a recent courtesy visit by the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Akutah Pius Ukeyima, in Lagos, Haastrup expressed that with the right focus and strategic planning, Nigeria’s maritime sector has the potential to outperform the oil and gas industry in terms of revenue generation.

Haastrup’s assertion comes at a time when Nigeria is exploring various avenues to diversify its economy. She emphasized the need for the Federal Government to prioritize the maritime sector, suggesting that it holds untapped potential for economic growth. Her support for the establishment of the Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy is a testament to her commitment to this cause.

In line with her vision for the maritime sector, the STOAN Chairman strongly advocated for the passage of the National Transport Commission (NTC) Bill. She elaborated that the proposed NTC would act as an independent economic regulator for various modes of transport, including maritime, rail, aviation, and land transport. The Commission’s role would be crucial in ensuring competitive market conduct, preventing the misuse of monopoly power, and promoting private sector participation in the transportation sector.

Highlighting the benefits of the NTC, Haastrup explained that it would guarantee equitable access to transport facilities and services for both operators and users. This initiative is expected to significantly contribute to the improvement of the overall transport industry in Nigeria.

Haastrup assured the Nigerian Shippers’ Council of her full support for the transformation of the Council into the NTC once the Bill is passed. She believes that this transformation is key to effectively protecting the rights and interests of operators and consumers in the maritime sector.

Further emphasizing the potential of the maritime sector, Haastrup pointed out that terminal operators at the nation’s seaports have successfully navigated numerous challenges associated with cargo-handling operations. This success is attributed to significant private sector investments in terminal infrastructure.

She noted that these investments have led to enhanced efficiency and productivity at the ports, reduced vessel waiting times, decreased the cost of doing business at the port, and increased government revenue generation. The improvements have not only bolstered the maritime sector but have also had a positive ripple effect on the economy, including job creation.

During his visit, the NSC’s Executive Secretary, Ukeyima, commended the terminal operators for their substantial investments in port infrastructure. He acknowledged that these investments have significantly improved the operational efficiency at the ports. Ukeyima also expressed his commitment to fostering collaboration with terminal operators and creating a conducive business environment at the seaports.

This development in Nigeria’s maritime sector is a clear indication of the country’s efforts to diversify its economy and reduce its dependence on oil revenue. The call for government support and strategic planning in the maritime sector is a step towards realizing its full potential, ultimately contributing to the country’s economic stability and growth.

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