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NIMASA, Port of Antwerp partner to boost maritime trade

L-R: Director,
Africa, Port of Antwerp International, Belgium, Nico Vertongen, Honorary Consul
of the Kingdom of Belgium, Paulette Gondry-Van Trier, Director General,
Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku
Peterside, Senior Event Executive, Antwerp Port Authority, Kathleen Reinehr and
Managing Director, Grimaldi Agency, Nigeria, Ascanio Russo during the visit of
the delegation from the Port of Antwerp to NIMASA in Lagos.  

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and
Safety Agency (NIMASA) is set to partner with the Port of Antwerp in Belgium, as
part of efforts to boost trade and encourage foreign direct investment opportunities
in the Nigerian maritime sector.

 The Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, made this known when he played host to a team from the
Port of Antwerp in Belgium led by the Director, Africa Port of Antwerp
International, Mr. Nico Vertongen, in Lagos.

Speaking
at the meeting, the NIMASA DG stated that the Port of Antwerp had had a long
standing relationship with the ports community in Lagos, noting that from 2017
till date, 302 vessels have called between the Port of Antwerp and the ports
community in Lagos.

He said that within
the period, 33 vessels conveyed export goods from the port of Lagos terminating
at the Port of Antwerp, with 22 Belgium-flagged vessels calling at Nigerian
ports and several other volumes of transaction.

Dakuku
said the Agency was willing to consolidate on the gains of the Nigeria-Belgian
relationship. 
“We have always had a
business relationship with the port of Antwerp either as destination ports or
ports of origin. We are glad to know that you are in Nigeria and planning to
lead a business mission sometime in November to the Lagos Port Community. Our
position is straight forward and clear; we welcome the business mission with
our doors open and believe there is a lot we can do together,” 
the DG said.

Dakuku
also stated that the November meeting would be the beginning of a mutually
beneficial relationship in diverse ways that will also give opportunities for
exchange of ideas. 

“It  will also open opportunities for training for our people
and it will give you a better understanding of how the ports in Lagos, Nigeria,
in Africa work, leading to the volume of trade between ports and other operations,”
 he added.

The DG
who expressed concerns about the isolated negative representation of the
Nigerian maritime sector in the media, said efforts were being made to stem it.

He
told the delegation that the Agency, which has the responsibility to ensure maritime
security in the ports and waterways, had put in place a number of strategies,
including a legal framework on piracy and maritime crime and acquisition of
assets to build up response capability, to stop the pirates and criminals from
operating within the coastal waters.
The Agency is also building up alliance
with Nigeria’s immediate neighbours, Dakuku stated. 

“Therefore, in November,
we will have the opportunity of setting up business to business meetings; we
have a number of Nigeria businesses that are interested in doing business with
operators in Belgium, precisely in the ports of Antwerp. And as you have
notified us today, we will begin to prepare ship owners in Nigeria; those who
have set up ship repair yards, ship building yards, operators and all of those
for business to business meeting in November and it is believed that it will be
rewarding
, Dr. Dakuku said.

Earlier
in his address, the Director, Africa of the Port of Antwerp International, Mr.
Nico Vertongen, who spoke on behalf of the delegation noted that the Port of
Antwerp intended to come to Nigeria in November on a business mission with the
intention of boosting the already existing relationship between the ports
community in Lagos and the Antwerp port.

He also
expressed their readiness to partner the Agency on port security, safety and
also possible areas of training, adding that the meeting will further be an
opportunity for the duo to be official partners.  

NIMASA
has continued to embrace collaboration and partnership, thereby allowing it to
fully actualise its dream of creating a robust maritime sector in line with
best global practices.

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