The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside, could pass for the description ‘the man who saw tomorrow.’
When he was appointed, without knowing what was coming, defined his mission in the regulatory agency in three powerful words: ‘reform, restructure and reposition’ NIMASA as the most efficient maritime administration in Africa.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Nigeria’s apex maritime regulatory agency may not have known that there would be massive drop in container volumes in almost all the ports globally.
It is on record that container throughput in ports of Los Angeles and Port of Long beach dropped drastically in the past six months.
This is not peculiar to the United States as container volumes dropped in almost all major ports in Asia, including Singapore a transshipment hub.
When major shipping companies began to report incredible decline in profit with a good number reporting losses, it became clear that the shipping and maritime industry was passing through challenging times.
The losses in revenue and profit suffered by shipping companies began to take a toll on new projects in the industry.
A lot of new vessel projects previously ordered are being put on hold, worse affected are dry bulk and offshore market vessels.
Many financial institutions were no longer excited to fund new vessel project because of the projection that it will take a long time for the industry to bounce back to huge profit era.
This also affected revenue for those who derive their revenue from spin off of shipping activities.
Pressure is on carriers to cut cost of doing business and reduce freight to remain competitive. This has and will have significant impact on the general outlook of the shipping and maritime industry.
This, coupled with excess capacity in the industry, has put the issue of reforms on the front burner of industry discourse The need to readjust to new economic realities has become inevitable.
This is where Dr Dakuku Peterside-led NIMASA seems to be getting it right. Since assuming office as CEO of Nigeria’s maritime regulator, he has been single-minded about reforms.
Under his watch, he promised that before one year in office, the processes in NIMASA will be fully automated, vessels can obtain provisional registration within forty-eight hours and full registration in 30 days.
He promised to eliminate corruption and put NIMASA back on the path of transparency.
Dakuku is leading an army to reform NIMASA’s vessel survey, inspection and certification program such that NIMASA will surpass all International maritime organization indices.
One area the public has acknowledged the new NIMASA helmsman as focused is giving Nigeria a voice in the International maritime community.
Dr Peterside is building the right network to optimize the benefit of international collaboration and support to unleash growth in Nigeria maritime industry.
Being a man of ideas, he has been able to sell Nigeria as the next big destination for maritime investment.
No one will be surprised if NIGERIA is elected into International Maritime Organisation (IMO) council by next year.
Another area NIMASA has made significant impact is in responsiveness to industry changes.
NIMASA is now much more dynamic and in sync with rapid changes in the industry.
There is a sense of urgency to reform and reposition in the maritime industry.
Aidoghie Paulinus wrote from Abuja.