About 11 years after the demise of Nigeria’s former National Carrier, the Nigerian National Shipping Line NNSL, the Federal Government has said that the proposed re-establishment of a new national fleet would boost economic activities in the country.

It is expected these increased activities would among other economic and social benefits curb the rising cases of capital flight in the nation’s shipping industry.

The government had adopted a 60-40 per cent Joint Venture JV, partnership ratio between Nigerian investors and Pacific International Line PIL, a Singapore-based world class shipping company as part of efforts to refloat the nation’s national carrier designed to boost indigenous tonnage.

Chairman of the implementation committee of the new national carrier, Barrister Hassan Bello, who spoke in an exclusive interview, said that the new shipping company, which will also enjoy a National Carrier status, would apart from the vessels flying the Nigerian flag spark off a chain of other economic activities that would curb the worsening capital flight, which is currently taking its toll on the economy.

According to him, because Nigeria does not have vessels on her fleet, the ones operating in the country are owned by foreigners and their acquisition was financed by foreign banks, insured by foreign firms, a development that gives rise to huge capital flight.

He also said that in addition to creating lots of businesses for the banks and insurance firms in the country, the new National Carrier would bring the freight component of the shipping business to Nigeria, which had before now gone to foreign liners.

It has also been reported that over 5,000 vessels call at Nigeria’s seaports and other facilities annually, all of which do their routine dry dock services outside Nigeria because of the absence of such facilities in Nigeria.

So it is believed that since the vessels will be Nigerian owned and flagged, they would facilitate the establishment of dry dock facilities and even shipyards.

“One of the advantages is that the vessels will fly the Nigerian flag, they will also bring the freight component to Nigeria’s economy. We need the experience of the foreign partners, access to the international market”, He said. Bello, who is the Executive Secretary /CEO of the Nigerian Shippers Council, which provides secretariat for the committee also said: “We need the fleet, which will give rise to the establishment of dry dock facilities, ship building and ship repair yards. We also need the fleet so that our cadets will be well trained. Our insurance and banks would participate in shipping activities, there will be mergers of insurance firms to insure those vessels .We want to see Nigerian surveyors, chandlers etc participate in shipping business thereby spreading wealth, build indigenous capacity and curb capital flight”.

He disclosed that the government was concluding plans to appoint a transaction adviser, which will be followed by the incorporation of a firm that would provide the special purpose vehicle that will lead to the takeoff of the new National Carrier.