Expert calls for more dry docks in Nigeria

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 Chief Kunle Folarin, the Chairman of the Nigerian Ports Consultative Council (PCC) on Thursday said the establishment of additional dry docks would boost the nation’s shipping industry.

Folarin stated this in an interview in Lagos.

He said the dry docks were necessary to improve on ship maintenance and sea-worthiness, considering the number of vessels received at the Nigerian ports.

Folarin was optimistic that more cargoes would be attracted to the Nigerian ports and trade within the sub-region would be improved.

The port operator said the floating dock and the dry docks should be compliant with the mandatory requirement for sea-worthiness.

``A ship cannot sail without being sea-worthy and a ship is supposed to be dry-docked within a time-frame. Then you need dry docks to perform such compliance requirements.

``We probably have one (dry dock), and we are talking of Nigerian ports attracting over 5,400 vessels.

Folarin said the ship owners could use the nation’s dry docks for compliance with sea-worthiness certification; for repairs, and for trans-shipment of cargo to other areas within West and Central African regions.

The PCC boss suggested that the marine environment should be well-utilised through infrastructure development for optimal gain.

``In the context of Nigeria, we know that we have massive maritime potential.

``Nigeria has all the potential to become a key player. If we have fully utilised the opportunities of the Nigerian maritime domain, we would have been seeing ship-building yards in Nigeria.

``Certainly, we would have been seeing Nigerian ports being the preferred hub for trans-shipment.

``Certainly, we would have established very competitive port costs that will attract traffic to Nigerian ports.

``Certainly, we would have got the capacity in terms of supplies and the demands of skilled manpower in the maritime world,’’ he said.

Folarin suggested that a manpower-building programme should be set in motion.

He said that more gains could also come from developing skill-acquisition in terms of nautical science, survey, foundry, ship-building skills as complimentary to other manpower development programmes.