ECOWAS Regional Shipping Line To Commence Operations In Q1 2023 – NEXIM

The Head, Strategy and Communication, Nigeria Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), Tayo Omidiji says a sub-Saharan regional shipping line ‘Sealink’ floated by a consortium, would commence operations between the end of 2022 and first quarter (Q1) 2023.

Omidiji, who disclosed this at the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN) 2022 Annual Conference with the theme, “Boosting Domestic Capacity for Sustainable Export Earnings,” held recently in Lagos, said the Sealink Project is part of effort to position Nigeria as a regional shipping giant.

The Sealink Promotional Company Ltd (SPCL) is a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement established for the purpose of promoting the development of a regional sealink company that would be private sector driven.

According to Omidiji Nigeria currently engages the service of foreign vessels to move goods outside the country, which is expensive and has a negative impact on its foreign exchange earnings.

“Reliance on foreign vessels increases cost and travel time as goods are first moved from Nigeria to the point of origin of the vessels and then to the final destination.

“If we have our own shipping line, we can move our goods from other countries and bring them directly to Nigeria before moving to other countries.” He said

He further noted that despite headwinds, a lot had been done in terms of financing the project, “We later thought of further expanding the scope of the project. In addition to having a shipping project that allows moving our goods on international water, we also felt that we should also find scope in inland waterways.

“We need to do more in terms of infrastructure to move the goods from the cities to export destinations.  We need to also develop our inland waterways. We can use barges to carry goods in the absence of port materials. That was why we were finding a scope in inland waterways.”

He added that NEXIM is currently working with the Nigeria Shippers’ Council, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Inland Ways Authority (NIWA) and others to ensure smooth execution of the project.

“Right now, we are charting and plotting the inland waterway, so that we can use barges to move some commodities.”

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