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Saving Cost Through Modular Dry Dock



Dry Dock
  • Saving Cost Through Modular Dry Dock

Before now, the dry docking of vessels operating in Nigeria was done outside the country with huge implications in terms of foreign exchange costs running into several millions of dollars yearly. This wastage is about to end with the acquisition by Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), of a modular floating dockyard. With this facility in place, the agency will save the federal government in excess of $100 million annually and about $1 billion in 10 years.

This princely sum will be a direct saving from the dry docking of vessels operating in Nigeria. Dry Dock is a waterless area for ship repairs, an enclosed dock from which water can be removed so that construction or repairs can be carried out below the water line of a boat or ship.

The agency and, in particular, its Director General, Dr Dakuku Peterside, has been celebrating and rightly too. To ensure that it did not end up as yet another government facility bugged down by bureaucracy, he has expressed the willingness of NIMASA to enter into a working relationship, a partnership of sorts, with interested parties in the private sector who will run it strictly as a business venture and profitably. Already, work on the dry-dock project is in progress and is likely to be completed before the end of this year.

This assertion by the Peterside himself debunks speculations that the plan for such a facility had been scrapped. He made it clear that, “It is not true that government has scraped the establishment of the proposed floating shipyard or dock yard in the Delta area; it is absolutely not correct.

According to him, the plan was on before his appointment. “Recall that before I joined NIMASA team, they had already established a business case for a floating dry-dock where owners of ship can dry-dock their vessels from time to time,” the D-G said

The decision to embark on this project, he further explained was based on the realisation at that time that “85 per cent or 90 per cent of those who own vessels dry-dock their vessels outside the country and we felt it encourages capital flight and that it doesn’t support the industry. So, it was at that point that we got into a relationship with a firm in Netherland to build a floating dry dock in the Netherland and in Romania. That project is on; when we joined the NIMASA team, we resolved to continue and follow it to its logical completion.”

Peterside, an accomplished technocrat was of the firm belief that the project would be completed this year and once that was achieved, it will be brought into the country and with it the agency should be able to dry dock most if not 100 per cent at least 90 per cent of all vessels in-country.

The Director-General said that another issue around the floating dry dock was location, adding that the agency had resolved to make the decision on location business related.

As expected, the location of the facility is beginning to generate political interest. But Peterside stressed that, “When we complete the dry dock, the location will be a business decision and many factors will be considered before we decide where it will be located. Studies are going on right now on where best it will be located”. This was just as he emphasised that, “it is absolutely not true that we have cancelled that project; that project is on. It is progressing at a satisfactory pace and we believe that it will be completed this year.”

Stakeholders in the Marine Transport sector are optimistic that the floating dockyard being built by the Nigeria Maritime Administration and safety Agency (NIMASA) would open new windows of opportunity in the maritime industry in West Africa.

After evaluating the extent of work on the floating Dockyard being built in Galati, Romania, the Senate observed that the opportunities would not only be limited to job creation or conservation of foreign exchange but would also include capacity building and wealth creation in the industry. With an average of 5,000 ships calling at the Nigerian ports annually, 400 active coastal vessels and several fishing trawlers, the demand for ship repair and maintenance facilities can only be on the rise.

However, it is lamentable that up and until now, no such indigenous facility was available in the maritime industry. The absence of modern functional floating dry docking facilities in the country which has forced ships and vessels to go overseas to undertake mandatory routine dry docking is not acceptable “the few land based dockyards in Nigeria are not even functioning optimally. Sometimes Nigerian ship owners have to go to neighbouring Cameroon to dry dock vessels paying in scarce foreign exchange”.

In addition to the Dry Dock project, Peterside is introducing other innovative policies that are intended to enhance the viability of the agency he heads. One of these is the Cost Insurance and Freight (CIF) to enable Nigerians lift the country’s crude oil

According to him, “One major factor that edges Nigerians out in the ‘affreightment’ of Nigerian cargo, especially crude oil lifting, is the prevalent Free On Board (FOB) trade term especially in a situation where Nigeria as a nation and Nigerian businessmen have very minimal control in the distribution of its crude oil with respect to carriage, insurance and other ancillary services.

Under a CIF arrangement, NIMASA on Peterside’s watch is planning to effect a far-reaching change in favour of indigenous operators. To this extent, therefore, NIMASA is joining forces with well-meaning Nigerians to move for the change of trade term from FOB to CIF to reasonably involve our indigenous operators in Nigerian cargo affreightment.

The advantages of this policy when implemented is that it will not only give distribution control of the country’s hydrocarbon resources to Nigerians, but also enable the agency to empower Nigerians through cargo lifting and meaningful participation in the entire value chain of export goods. CIF as a policy thrust will enable Nigerians participate in cargo lifting, cargo insurance, create job for our teeming cadets and other ancillary economic and security derivatives.

Peterside added, “The plans are on top gear to reach out to relevant agencies of government and very soon, we shall do an executive memorandum to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for consideration and approval.”

Another policy the management of NIMASA is putting in place and which lead to a process of giving indigenous ship owners greater participation in the industry. Already the agency has designed and embarked on a programme that will empower indigenous ship owners

Elaborating on this policy, Peterside said, “Conscious of our mandate-to promote the development of indigenous commercial shipping in international and coastal shipping trade, we are poised, more than ever, to achieving this obligation. We understand it requires a great deal of capacity building, especially human, infrastructural and tonnage capacities of our indigenous shipping operators.

“We have reviewed the participation of Nigerians in the industry and are not satisfied with the outcome. The summary of our findings reveals a very low indigenous participation in international commercial shipping trade in Nigeria. As far-fetched as it sounds, there are no Nigerian Flagged Ocean-going vessels known to us.

“In the course of our review also, we observed the salience of cargo availability to the commercial fortunes of a ship owner/operator and to our national tonnage growth. We noted also that commercial shipping will less likely develop without conscious, proactive, well -structured and monitored government intervention as is done in other sectors,” he stated.

The NIMASA chief executive added that one area of such intervention is cargo availability.

Developed maritime nations, he said, have at one time or the other consciously supported, and are still supporting their indigenous operators in building their commercial shipping capacities.

“Recently, a bipartisan bill was brought before the United States Congress aimed at strengthening indigenous participation in shipping. The bill seeks to allow US flagged vessels carry up to 30 per cent of the U.S LNG as a matter of both economic importance and security concerns.

“On our part, plans are in top gear to use our existing enabling laws to make public cargo available for indigenous shipping operators in order to improve their commercial fortunes and competitive advantage over their well-capitalised and established foreign counterparts. We are out to enforce Sections 36 and 37 of the NIMASA Act 2007 towards building indigenous capacities in shipping.

“This is already at executive management level and we are determined to take it to the highest level of bureaucratic, legislative and executive engagements necessary. We shall also involve our esteemed stakeholders at the right time because we understand they have roles to play in the entire process,” Peterside said.

––Eshiogu wrote in from Abuja

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq,, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.


Jumia Nigeria Appoints Sunil Natraj as CEO, Outlines Ambitious Expansion Plans

Former Jumia Ghana CEO to Lead E-Commerce Giant as Massimiliano Spalazzi Steps Down



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Jumia Nigeria, a prominent player in the e-commerce sector, has announced the appointment of Sunil Natraj as its new CEO.

Natraj, the former CEO of Jumia Ghana, will take the helm of the e-commerce business in January 2024, succeeding Massimiliano Spalazzi, who has been with Jumia Group for 11 years and will be stepping down in December 2023.

The announcement came during a media parley held in Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria, with Francis Dufay, the CEO of Jumia Group, unveiling Natraj as the new leader.

Natraj expressed Jumia’s commitment to becoming a truly Nigerian company and continuing the initiatives started by Spalazzi.

“We want to continue what Spalazzi started,” Natraj stated, emphasizing Jumia’s vision to expand its presence beyond Lagos.

He disclosed plans to extend operations to additional Nigerian cities, with Akure and Ilorin on the radar and a focus on cities en route to Ibadan, Warri, and Benin in the first quarter of 2024.

The overarching strategy is to create a comprehensive network covering the entire country.

Dufay outlined the ambitious goal of targeting cities with populations exceeding 20,000 people, citing successful precedents in Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, and Senegal.

He acknowledged the challenges faced by Jumia, including a workforce reduction in Q4 2022 and a 73% cut in advertising budgets in Q3 2023.

Despite the hurdles, Dufay highlighted Nigeria as Jumia’s largest market and affirmed the company’s determination to navigate and thrive in the ever-evolving e-commerce landscape.

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Google DeepMind Unveils Gemini AI Chatbots to Rival OpenAI’s GPT Series

Gemini Ultra Outperforms GPT-4 in Text, Image, Coding, and Reasoning Tasks



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Google DeepMind has officially introduced its highly anticipated family of AI chatbots named Gemini, poised to compete with OpenAI’s renowned GPT series.

Among the key highlights is Gemini Ultra, the largest and most advanced model, which Google claims surpasses OpenAI’s GPT-4 in various domains, including text-based, image-based, coding, and reasoning tasks.

The announcement also shed light on the meticulous development process, emphasizing that Gemini Ultra is undergoing rigorous “trust and safety checks, including red-teaming by trusted external parties.”

This stringent evaluation process aligns with Google’s commitment to ensuring the reliability and security of its AI technologies.

Accompanying Gemini Ultra are two additional models, Gemini Pro and Gemini Nano. Gemini Pro is now accessible to the public through Google’s Bard chat interface, while the smaller Gemini Nano is designed to run on Google’s Pixel 8 Pro smartphone.

All three models exhibit the capability to process text, images, audio, and video, providing comprehensive outputs in both text and image formats.

Google envisions the integration of Gemini models into various products and services, including internet search and advertisements.

Developers will gain access to Gemini Pro through an API starting December 13, with Android developers empowered to build with Gemini Nano.

The Gemini suite is set to face competition from industry rivals, including OpenAI, Anthropic, Inflection, Meta, and Elon Musk’s xAI.

Google DeepMind’s ambitious move reflects its dedication to advancing AI capabilities and establishing a strong presence in the burgeoning field of AI chatbots.

This unveiling marks a significant milestone for Google DeepMind, a company born out of the fusion of DeepMind and Google Brain in April 2023.

The incorporation of Gemini into Google’s AI portfolio signifies the tech giant’s determination to close the gap with competitors and assert itself as a leader in AI innovation.

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Flutterwave Expands Financial Frontier: Acquires Money Transfer Licenses for 13 U.S. States

Africa’s Leading Payments Tech Firm Facilitates Faster, Affordable, and Secure Transfers between the U.S. and Africa



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In a significant move towards advancing financial connectivity between Africa and the United States, Flutterwave, Africa’s premier payments technology company, has proudly announced its acquisition of money transfer licenses for 13 key U.S. states.

This strategic expansion aims to expedite, streamline, and secure the transfer of money from the U.S. to Africa and back.

The states covered by the newly acquired licenses include Arizona, Arkansas, Maryland, Michigan, Delaware, Georgia, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

These additions, combined with Flutterwave’s existing partnerships and licenses, now empower the company to serve customers seamlessly across 29 states in the U.S.

Money transfer licenses, issued by state regulators, play a pivotal role in enabling financial technology companies like Flutterwave to engage in the transmission of money.

The acquisition of these licenses fortifies Flutterwave’s commitment to regulatory compliance, safety, and the soundness of its services.

Stephen Cheng, Executive Vice President, Global Expansion and Partnerships at Flutterwave, emphasized the significance of this milestone.

“Getting these licenses expands our regulatory footprint, demonstrates our ability to deliver services with safety and soundness, and fosters trust among regulators, partners, and customers,” stated Cheng.

“We’re growing and are committed to servicing customer needs in as many geographies as possible, particularly with a significant African diaspora.”

Flutterwave’s popular solutions, such as the Send App, are set to benefit greatly from this expansion.

The Send App facilitates easy and secure money transfers between the U.S. and Africa, catering to both individual users and enterprises that rely on Flutterwave for global last-mile payouts.

“Sending money between the U.S. and Africa has been challenging for the African diaspora. These licenses pave the way for Flutterwave to make the Send App available to the African diaspora in the U.S., offering a super user-friendly money remittance experience,” explained Olugbenga Agboola, Founder and CEO at Flutterwave.

“Our mission is to connect Africa to the world and the world to Africa by simplifying payments for endless possibilities. These licenses move us one step closer to our vision, and we will continue to expand this feat to ensure coverage for all states in the U.S. and beyond.”

Flutterwave remains steadfast in its commitment to providing accessible remittance services across the U.S. and has outlined plans for further expansion of licensing coverage in the near future.

This ambitious endeavor reflects the company’s dedication to fostering financial inclusion and creating a seamless financial bridge between continents.

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