By Louis Ibah
The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and Samsung Heavy Industries Nigeria (SHIN) Limited have entered into strategic alliance on the construction of barges for the waterways authority.
This strategic alliance, which is part of NIWA’s efforts to rid the Nigerian waterways of illegal operators, will also reduce accidents, eliminate unlicensed jetties and unseaworthy water crafts along the brown waters.
NIWA’s inter-agency committee had recently clamped down on six unseaworthy barges operating illegally within the Lagos inland waterways, while three illegal jetties were sealed. This followed the increasing reports of abuse of processes in the operation of barges and private jetties.
The inter-agency committee, comprises representatives of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), NIWA and the Lagos State Inland Waterways Authority (LASWA).
NIWA is also set to build and own barges for inland waterways activities in Nigeria.
Maritime experts believe this strategic alliance with SHIN is a positive development that would improve the safety of the waterways and eliminate all forms of illegalities in the operations of jetties and barges.
Andrew Komac, a maritime analyst, said NIWA’s decision to partner SHIN would encourage other foreign investors to make investments in Nigeria.
“The Federal Government and its agencies should constantly take deliberate actions to demonstrate that Nigeria is a good destination for investments by protecting foreign investors against predators, masquerading as local investors,” he said. “These so-called local investors connive with some ministries and agencies of the government to sabotage efforts to attract foreign direct investments (FIDs). The Nigerian government should be wary of these supposed local investors whose investments are only on the pages of the newspapers,”
Komac said other ministries and agencies in the maritime sector, particularly the Ministry of Transport, should emulate the NPA and NIWA to protect the much-needed foreign investors by giving them incentives, waivers, leases, assurances and guarantees that will secure their investments.
Commenting on the alliance, SHIN said: “This strategic alliance is a revalidation of the faith the agencies of the Nigerian government have in SHIN, which aligns with our long-term commitment to Nigeria.
“Total safety, cost control and quality management will remain our priority. We will also improve on the local content standard and retain our position as local content champion.”
In its 10 years of operation in Nigeria, SHIN has contributed significantly to the Nigerian economy, particularly in the development of local manpower, job creation and increasing the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
The company demonstrated its global leadership position in shipbuilding and ultra-deep offshore projects when it built the floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel designed to hold 2.3 million barrels of oil for Nigeria’s Egina deep water project, developed by the French oil giant, Total.
Weighing close to 220,000 metric tonnes and measuring 330 metres long by 60 metres wide, the Egina FPSO is the largest ever built by Total Group worldwide.
Egina oil field, which is producing 200,000 barrels of oil per day, scored first on many fronts because of SHIN’s contribution in the project.
SHIN used the Egina FPSO to set a new record in Nigerian content development when it locally fabricated and integrated six modules out of the 18 modules in the facility.
The FPSO berthed at the SHI-MCI yard in Lagos, and that was the first of its kind to be berthed at quayside in Nigeria.
SHIN’s investments in the fabrication and integration yard in Lagos transformed Nigeria into an FPSO hub in Africa.
In recognition of the huge investments SHIN made on the 11.2426 hectares of land that hosts the SHI-MCI yard, the NPA had, in November 2019, leased the land to the global shipbuilding giant.
The global shipbuilding giant is also legally operating a jetty in the zone.
NPA’s support was part of the bold reforms initiated by its managing director, Ms. Hadiza Bala-Usman, to restore foreign investors’ confidence in the country in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts to attract foreign investments to create jobs, increase Nigeria’s GDP and boost the economy.
Recognising that ultra-deep water projects require specific expertise, which only a few companies such as SHIN could offer, NIWA is set to take advantage of SHIN’s position as the world leader in shipbuilding and construction of barges.
This strategic alliance with NIWA will no doubt boost the contributions of SHIN to the Nigerian economy and also encourage more foreign investors to make investments in Nigeria.