Bright outlook for maritime business in year ahead, says Nigerian Shipowner

MD/CEO Sea Transport and President NISA, Mr. Aminu Umar

The Managing Director/Chief Executive of Sea Transport Group, an indigenous ship-owning company, Mr. Aminu Umar, has expressed confidence of remarkable improvement in the maritime business in Nigeria for the year ahead.

Speaking in an interview in Lagos, Umar, who is also the President of the Nigeria Indigenous Shipowners Association (NISA) said that in spite of the many challenges facing the industry, there were also indicators for improvement in the sector.

He noted that in spite of some challenges more Nigerians have recently owned ships and had the opportunity of participating in the sector.  

His words: “If we look at it globally, maritime business is on the growth graph. For 2019/2020, it is expected to be at the peak for the maritime business. So, Nigeria cannot be in isolation. We believe that the maritime business will be growing in these years.

“Yes, there are challenges in the sector, but over the years, we have seen many more Nigerians participating in the industry. Like in the past six years, the number of Nigerians who own ships have increased, far more than the number 10 years ago, in terms of number of vessels that are owned by Nigerians doing the business of maritime.

“The situation is tough, but we believe the growth can be bigger with improvement in the working environment. But, they need to be dealing with issues of finance, infrastructure, security and safety.

“If they deal with these issues, the insurance premiums we pay will reduce, loses we suffer when we want to take private security men will be taken care of, and those savings will increase investment in the business.

“It simply means that we would have bought more vessels if the environment were better than what it is today. However, if we do the assessment, the growth is there.”

Umar praised advocacy initiatives that are driving awareness of maritime industry, and believes it has further exposed investors to the industry potential for bigger investments.

The shipowner also believes that industry activities have over time drawn government’s attention to how well the sector can grow and sustain the nation’s economy