The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has expressed commitment to the actualisation of sealink project in the country.
NSC’s Executive Secretary, Mr Emmanuel Jime, said this when the Chairperson, Sealink Transnational Company, Mrs Dabney Shall-Holma, led a team to visit him on Friday in Abuja.
According to Jime, the NSC has a mandate to protect shippers and ensure their ease of doing business in the country.
He, therefore, said the council would do all that was neccessary to support the committee responsible for realising the sealink project.
Jime explained that sealink was an initiative put in place to bridge the infrastructure gap in the nation’s maritime domain.
He said: ”There is no way that any nation can be effective in its trade unless there is connectivity through the waterways.
”I will like to commend the vision of those who initiated this project.
“Advocacy is our responsibility here at the shippers council and this has to do with the fact that the council is essentially to protect shippers.
”But we are also in the position to engage in the kind of activity that ultimately benefits them. Advocacy is what we are going to do in partnership with you,” Jime said.
He restated the need for Nigeria to own its vessel, saying that it would promote the ability of Nigerian shippers to take advantage of the infrastructure (sealink) that would be developed.
On the African Continental Free Trade Area(AfCFA ), Jime said to effectively participate in that platform, Nigerians need to develop infrastructure that would respond to that emerging situation.
”And I believe sealink has a strategic place as far as the development of our trade facilitation is concerned.
”It helps in promotion of inland waterways operation for bulk commodities towards trade diversification of Nigeria economy.
”Movement of cargo is key as far as our mandate is concerned.
”So anything that will engender and enable the environment, such that Nigerian Shippers can take advantage of in evolving trade environment, we have a duty at shippers council to fully get engaged and participate in the process,” he added.
Jime said: ”not only are we (NSC) going to be partners with you, from now on, if there is any effort that needs to be put in place that requires the shippers council’s presence, be assured that we will be there all the way.”
Earlier, the Managing Director of NEXIM Bank, represented by his Technical Adviser, Mr Hope Yongo, also expressed the bank’s commitment to the project.
”NEXIM remains committed to the project and to ensure that we expand Nigeria’s export basket.
”To make sure that being the dominant economy in Africa, we take our pride of place as a major trading partner and that can only happen with connectivity.
”We need the support of the transportation sector and that is why we are here for a joint advocate.
”We are hopeful to launch the sealink for both continental and inland waterways in June. We want to thicken and broaden Nigerian exports,” he said.
On her part, Shall-Holma, said the committee was in partnership with several stakeholders to ensure the realisation of the project.
”Shippers council has always been there through the process, what we want now is for you to be actively involved. nan”