Iheanacho urges shipowners to maximise opportunities in oil, gas industry
By Yusuf Yunus
Mr Emmanuel Iheanacho, Chairman of Integrated Oil and Gas Company, says there is need for Nigerian shipowners to develop their shipping capabilities and maximize opportunities in the industry.
Iheanacho said this in an interview with the Business Intelligence (TBI Africa) in Lagos.
He said that there was need for modular refinery establishment to enhance the oil and gas sector and help to meet the domestic fuel demands for smooth transportation and other business operations.
Iheanacho suggested that they should focus more on tanker trade rather than operating liner services.
According to him, tanker trade is a comparatively simpler business as it involves carrying a single cargo with one Bill of Lading.
NAN reports that liner services require managing thousands of containers, each containing numerous small goods, which can be more administratively complex.
“All you have to do, is to be able to take the ship to a port, stop the ship there, load the sip and sail the ship out of the port and then to another port.
“So, it is not as difficult. For instance, if you were operating a liner service, it requires you to carry thousands of containers and in each has thousands of small goods.
“And you have the administrative requirement to be able to sort all of those things out. Make sure that you go to the port at the right time, and you deliver to the person who owns the cargo, at the right time.
“There is really a lot that we could have done to harvest and to develop our shipping potentials, which can still be done,” he said.
Regarding human capacity development in Nigeria’s maritime industry, Iheanacho commended the Maritime Academy of Nigeria in Oron, Akwa Ibom, for providing high-quality training to cadets.
He suggested that the output of the academy should be linked to national capacity, emphasising the importance of ship ownership.
Iheanacho also discussed the missed opportunities in the shipping industry, stating that Nigerian shipowners should have been more actively involved in the carriage of Nigeria’s trade goods.
By participating in this business, they could have gained not only financial benefits but also engineering and technical skills.
He mentioned the need for standards and linkages between Nigerian registered tankers, Nigerian crude tankers, and cargo transportation processes to maximize these opportunities.
In response to a proposed merger of the Nigeria Customs Service, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Iheanacho expressed his skepticism.