Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh (middle), flanked by Managing Director of APEC-Antwerp/Flanders Port Training Centre and Port of Antwerp International, Mr. Kristof Waterschoot (left), and Director at Port of Antwerp International, Mr. Mario Lievens, after a meeting at the Nigerian Belgian Chamber of Commerce, Onikan, Lagos, when the Port of Antwerp executives visited Nigeria, recently.

Sequel to the development of Nigeria’s new National Maritime Transport Policy being spearheaded by the Federal Ministry of Transport, some Belgian investors have shown keen interest towards some investment windows in the industry.

Meanwhile, the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA Dr Bashir Jamoh has said that huge opportunities for investment in wreck removal and recycling exist in the country, as the Federal Government is planning a coordinated wreck removal policy to drive investment in the area.

 Executive officers of the Port of Antwerp International gave this hint in Lagos during a meeting with the NIMASA DG in Lagos at the weekend. The visiting team of executives from the Port of Antwerp International had sought audience with the NIMASA DG to follow up investment windows in Nigeria’s rich maritime industry.

Managing Director of APEC-Antwerp/Flanders Port Training Centre and Port of Antwerp International, Mr. Kristof Waterschoot, and Director at Port of Antwerp International, Mr. Mario Lievens, who led the team, also said they were in Nigeria to promote new partnership opportunities, especially in the area of training.

Waterschoot and Lievens, who hosted Jamoh at the Nigerian Belgian Chamber of Commerce, Onikan, Lagos, said their mission was to discuss projects of interest, including inland ports, and to strengthen the relationship between the Port of Antwerp and NIMASA, particularly in the areas of training, technical support, and cooperation.

The duo noted that Nigeria’s proposed National Maritime Transport Policy could drive new investment windows, and said the policy was being watched as it unfolds to see how Belgium could come in with investments.

Waterschoot said: “We believe in Nigeria, though the business climate in the country could be difficult, but there is hardly any  country without its peculiar difficulties”.

While speaking during the meeting, Jamoh praised the long-standing diplomatic and economic relationship between Nigeria and Belgium. He highlighted the Federal Government’s abiding interest in diversifying the economy, saying the development of maritime infrastructure is part of the government’s economic diversification agenda.

 “The National Maritime Transport Policy, which is being developed, is part of a wider agenda designed to create alternatives to oil. The maritime sector is consciously being opened for investment by local and foreign investors to build a sustainable blue economy.

“One area I would like the Belgian private sector to come in is wreck removal and wreck recycling. There are huge investment opportunities in the area and there is also a big room for collaboration. This is more so as the Federal Government is planning a coordinated policy on wreck removal”, Jamoh stated,

He also sought Belgium’s partnership in the areas of sea-time training for Nigerian cadets as well as port safety and port security.  

The Port of Antwerp International is a subsidiary of Port of Antwerp, Europe’s second largest port – after Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands. It was established to expand the activities of the Port of Antwerp beyond Europe through consultancy, management solutions, investment projects and training.

The National Maritime Transport Policy, which is first of its kind, is part of the government’s efforts to develop maritime infrastructure to diversify the economy from the current dependence on the oil sector.

Minister of State for Transport, Gbemisola Saraki, had recently told stakeholders at a validation forum on the draft policy that when approved, the policy, would lead to improved Foreign Direct Investment FDI inflow and enhance the ability of the Nigeria’s maritime sector to take its pride of place at the global arena.