Lack of funds hinders local shipping development, says mariner

 Capt. Dennis Osah,the first President of the Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM) on Monday said that lack of finance had hindered the development of local shipping operations.

The mariner told the news Agency of Nigeria(NAN) in Lagos that a number of shippers who operated small crafts such as barges had found it difficult to maintain their fleet.

Osah said the situation was closely linked to how the banks in Nigeria treated request for financing for shipping operations.

“The indigenous shippers have not had it easy because they cannot access funds from the banks.

“The banks are not interested in giving us loans to improve on the shipping operations,” he said.

Osah also said that many indigenous ship operators had not benefited from the cabotage law because it was difficult for individuals to buy ships.

According to him, “vessel specifications are always given when companies want to give contracts and it becomes difficult when you cannot access funds to acquire the specified vessel for the operation.

“The  cabotage vessel financing fund has not also been accessible and people cannot continue waiting for no fixed time,” Osah said.

He said that charterers had also made shipping operations difficult by owing for service rendered, adding that arbitration had also not been able to solve the problem.

“It is as bad as charterers of barges not paying for close to one year, and arbitration efforts have also not been able to solve the problem,” Osah said.