The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) announced its plans to partner with the Port of Antwerp in Belgium, to boost trade and encourage foreign direct investment opportunities in the Nigerian maritime sector.
The news was disclosed by the Director-General of NIMASA, Dakuku Peterside while hosting a team from the Port of Antwerp led by the Director, Africa Port of Antwerp International, Nico Vertongen, in Lagos.
Peterside revealed that the Port of Antwerp had a long standing relationship with the ports community in Lagos, noting that from 2017 till date, 302 vessels have called between the Belgian port and the ports in Lagos.
He said within the period, 33 vessels conveyed export goods from the port of Lagos terminating at the Port of Antwerp, with 22 Belgium-flagged vessels calling at Nigerian ports and several other volumes of transaction. He noted that the Agency was willing to consolidate on the gains of the Nigeria-Belgian relationship.
According to Peterside, “we have always had a business relationship with the port of Antwerp either as destination ports or ports of origin. We are glad to know that you are in Nigeria and planning to lead a business mission sometime in November, to the Lagos Port Community. Our position is straight forward and clear; we welcome the business mission with our doors open and believe there is a lot we can do together”.
Peterside also said the meeting in November will be the beginning of a mutually-beneficial relationship in diverse ways that will also give opportunities for the exchange of ideas.
The Director-General expressed concern regarding the isolated negative representation of the Nigerian maritime sector in the media, saying efforts were being made to stem it.
He told the delegation that the Agency, which has the responsibility to ensure maritime security in the ports and waterways, had put in place a number of strategies, including a legal framework on piracy and maritime crime and acquisition of assets to build up response capability, to stop the pirates and criminals from operating within the coastal waters.
Also speaking on the partnership, Vertongen said the delegation planned to come to Nigeria in November on a business mission, with the intention of boosting the already existing relationship between the ports community in Lagos and the Antwerp port.
He also expressed Belgium’s readiness to partner with the Agency on port security, safety, and also possible areas of training, adding that the meeting will further be an opportunity for the duo to be official partners.