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Nigeria losing ground in ship-repair market

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By Usman Oladimeji

The country has lost over 110,000 vessels to neighbouring countries.

There has been talk of a decline in ship building and repair in Nigeria’s maritime industry. As a result of not having an efficient shipyard, the country has lost over 110,000 vessels to other nations. The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) reports that the majority of ship owners have sought alternative means for dry docking and repairs by moving their vessels to neighbouring countries like Togo, Ghana and the Republic of Benin.

This report comes at a time when the global shipyard market is predicted to contribute $50.3 billion to economies in 2023. NIMASA’s Director-General, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, made this point clear in Lagos, noting that the lack of a shipbuilding and ship repair infrastructure is a major obstacle for the maritime industry in Nigeria. He claimed that despite a high demand for ship repairs in the country, lack of ship repair infrastructure availability have forced ship owners to move their vessels elsewhere.

Ship building in Nigeria was virtually ineffective.

He indicated that NIMASA would be interested in working with Norway to further expand its ship repair and building industries. He revealed that once the Agency’s floating dock was operational, it would bring in almost N1 billion each month. While hosting the Norwegian delegation led by Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt, Dr. Jamoh advocated for a partnership in shipbuilding and repair between Nigeria and Norway. At the same point, Huitfeldt praised Nigeria’s efforts in the Gulf of Guinea, saying they had helped reduce pirates activities.

To prevent further outflows of money, Nigeria needs more extensive ship repair yards, as previously stated by Engr Greg Ogbeifun, former president of the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), who also noted that ship building in Nigeria was virtually ineffective. Given that the sector is expected to lose more than $500 million annually, he predicted that it should be significantly contributing to the nation’s income. Engr. Ogbeifun said that when ships leave the country to find dry-docking facilities, it results in a significant loss of jobs and money.

Market for ship repairs is expected to grow rapidly.

It has also come to light that ship lines calling at Nigerian ports have been experiencing a hard time dry docking or repairing their vessels ever since the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) closed its subsidiary, Continental Shipyard Limited (CSL) in the year 2010 due to the company’s stranded floating dock. In the meantime, research shows that the market for ship repairs and maintenance services is expected to grow rapidly, reaching $50.3billion between 2023 and 2033.

In contrast, many nations have multiple repair yards, including the United States with around 500 ship manufacturing and repair yards, Europe with 200, China with 80, South Korea and Singapore with 30. Business Research Company predicts rapid expansion for Singapore’s ship repair and maintenance services market, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 9.2 percent between 2017 and 2023. Meanwhile, China is expected to maintain its dominant position in the shipbuilding industry, with a forecasted $9.1 billion in 2023 revenue and a CAGR of 7.4 percent.

Global shipbuilding market is expected to increase to $209.13b in 2023.

The United States hopes to make $1.6 billion by 2023, while South Korea will reach a value of $4.2 billion,  and Nigeria will gain $500 million if the dock is operational. According to the report, the value of the global shipbuilding market is expected to increase from $193.66 billion in 2022 to $209.13 billion in 2023, representing a CAGR of 8%. However, it noted several potential global economic recovery from COVID-19 pandemic is being sabotaged by the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

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