The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) cumbersome documentation process may have delayed about 25 vessels currently stuck on the Lagos high sea, laden with petroleum products, and other goods waiting to berth and discharge the products for domestic consumption.
The latest Shipping Position released by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), revealed that the vessels carrying Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also known as petrol; Automated Gas Oil (AGO) or diesel; base oil, general cargo and containers, are currently waiting to berth upon Customs approval.
The vessels, mostly tankers, were tagged, CRNAPP, meaning Customs Release Not Applicable (West Coast). However, about 21 more ships are expected at the Lagos Pilotage District, between now and February 9th, with three of them laden with PMS, and others conveying fish, sugar, general cargo, trucks and containers.
Meanwhile, the latest Maritime Industry Forecast 2019-2020, released by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), projected a decrease of oil tanker fleet size by 11.2 per cent for 2019, but will recover to a positive growth of 0.11 per cent by 2020.
The report stated: “Against this backdrop, the empirical analysis projects the growth of the total fleet size in 2019 over 2018 to be 10.33 per cent, easing to 8.75 per cent for 2020. Oil tanker fleet size is projected to decrease by 11.2 per cent for both 2019, and recover to a positive growth of 0.11 per cent by 2020. The projections for non- oil tanker fleet size is estimated to increase by 14.3 per cent in 2019 and 10.2 per cent in 2020, while Oil Rig count is projected to increase by 6.98 per cent and 6.5 per cent for 2019 and 2020 respectively.”
The report also stated that although Nigeria is a predominantly oil producing and exporting nation, it is however heavily dependent on imports, hinting that delay in the passage of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), is affecting the industry growth, as many projects are stalled, while others have been suspended over uncertainty surrounding the regulation.
“It is also believed that the passage of the PIGB will attract multinationals into the downstream sector of the industry, leading to the setting up of refineries, which will eventually lead to Nigeria being a net exporter of refined petroleum products. If this happens in the next one or two years, it will lead to the demand of refined petroleum tankers and more importantly it will create a very robust bunkering business in the maritime industry, which is capable of generating over $3 billion per annum,” the report stated.
A consultant and faculty at the Lagos Business School, Dr. Doyin Salami, who reviewed the forecast, said it was expected that in 2019, the PIGB will be passed; the anti-piracy bill will become law, and more International Maritime Organisation (IMO) conventions would be domesticated in Nigeria.