Indigenous shipping companies who have for decades been clamouring to get their hands on the lucrative wet cargo trade can now heave a sigh of relief as state-owned oil giant, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has given them firm assurances that they will have a piece of the rich pie.
The assurance came from the head of the leadership of the corporation, Mele Kyari, the group managing director and chief executive officer, while meeting with members of the Nigerian Fleet Implementation Committee who were on a working visit to the NNPC Towers, the headquarters of the Nigerian oil behemoth.
The NNPC said it was ready to support the indigenous fleet owners to enjoy greater patronage and participation in the oil and gas maritime business in the country.
Kyari said with the scale of NNPC’s activities in the maritime sector, it would get more active in the affairs of the Fleet Management Committee with a view to strengthening the synergy between the corporation and the private sector.
“We believe in this process, we will ensure that Nigerian ships enjoy a greater patronage in the business henceforth,” Kyari is quoted as assuring the visitors.
Hassan Bello, who chairs the committee, drew attention to the fact that Nigeria was losing $1.9 billion to foreign ship owners annually as a result of the non-participation of indigenous shipping companies in the wet cargo trade in the country; and he appealed to Kyari to encourage NNPC subsidiaries to always engage indigenous shipping companies in their businesses.
Bello urged NNPC to grant local shipping companies the right of first refusal in crude oil lifting contracts, saying it would help grow the economy and sustain their businesses.
He said his committee was set up three years ago by the Federal Ministry of Transportation with a mandate to promote Nigerian ownership of ships and vessels to enable local companies take control of the shipping business which is in line with the economic diversification policy of the federal government.