THE Chairman of Integrated Oil and Gas Company, Captain Emmanuel Iheanacho, says it will be beneficial if Nigerian shipowners operating in the oil and gas sub-sector concentrate more on the tanker trade than operating liner services.
Iheanacho, who is a former Minister of Interior, disclosed this while speaking with newsmen on the need to encourage modular refinery establishment towards improving the oil and gas sector services to meet in-country fuel demands for ease of transportation and other business operations.
Speaking on shipping services and the better options, Iheanacho said “From my experience, one area we should have just mastered easily, arising from the activities involved is the tanker trade, because the tanker trade is so easy, you carry only one cargo, one Bill of Lading.
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“All you have to do, is to be able to take the ship to a port, stop the ship there, load and sail the ship out of the port and then to another port.
“However, it is not as difficult because for instance; if you were operating a liner service, which requires you to carry thousands of containers and in each container you have more thousands of small goods; you have the administrative requirement to sort all of those things out and also be at the port promptly to the owners of the cargo.
“There is really a lot that we could have done to harvest and to develop our shipping potentials, which can still be done.”
Speaking on human capacity development for Nigeria’s maritime industry, Iheanacho lauded efforts of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, Akwa Ibom, for providing high-quality training for cadets.
He, however, advised that it was needful for the Academy’s output to be linked with national capacity, in whose case the need for owning vessels becomes very important.
He said “Nigeria has done quite well actually in building human capacity. The Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, is there. The Academy provides a good training group for people who wish to pursue a career in the shipping industry.
“ I think that what really should have been done would have been for the Academy’s output to be hooked on to a national capacity where we bought tankers, similar to what we did with the general cargoes vessels in the Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL) so many years ago.
“In the industry, we have actually put up campaign to ensure that we participated in the carriage of Nigeria’s trade goods, not only in areas that it will generate revenue, but also create the opportunity for us to acquire engineering and technical skills, it would create a very good opportunity for us to hook on to what is done elsewhere. So how do you process these linkages?
“If a Nigerian registered tanker and Nigerian crude tanker picked up cargo from here and to America, what are the standards that are required? So, there are so many things that we are losing, because we were just satisfied with just selling the oil , allowing that others would do the job while we would have actually done that job and made significant profit from participating in that business.”
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