HomeNewsNPA waives charges for Dry-docking of vessels
In a bid to encourage vessel owners operating in Nigerian territorial waters to patronize the country’s dry-docking and maintenance facilities, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has decided to waive Gross Registered Tonnage (GRT) dues under certain conditions.
This move which is expected to attract more vessel owners to Nigeria, will
also improve expertise among Nigerian shipbuilders and domicile the scarce
foreign exchange normally expended on foreign shipyards, in-country.
NPA, in a letter dated 6th August 2019, with reference no HQ-AGM-T&B-OP-690, declared that henceforth, vessels coming for dry-docking and maintenance but not making any operational movements would no longer be charged the Gross Registered Tonnage (GRT) dues.
In view of the recent development, stakeholders in the industry, including The Marine Club of Nigeria, Ship Owners Association of Nigeria, Nigerian Chamber of Shipping among others have commended the Federal Government for its intervention on lingering high charge practices against ship owners plying the Nigerian territorial waters. They also commended Elshcon Nigeria Limited, an Integrated Maritime Logistics and Fabrication Company for drawing the attention of the NPA to this practice.
The groups noted that Nigeria would have suffered a great loss had it not
been for the timely intervention of the NPA, which had earlier forced many ship
owners to look elsewhere outside the country.
It would be recalled that Elshcon had recently alerted the NPA of an
ongoing practice which made ship owners in Nigeria abandon the country’s
shipyards to patronize those of other African countries due to persistent high
fees foisted on them.
The company had sought to tow its 4000-Gross Tonnage off-shore barge to the
Lagos dry dock for repair, being the only shipyard that has the capacity to
handle such a big vessel in the country.
However, they discovered that despite the fact that the voyage was for
repair and not for commercial or trading purpose, it was still required to pay
the same full ship dues that commercial voyage ships pay, a development that
has informed the decision of ship owners in Nigeria to head to ports located
outside the country such as Tema Port, Ghana, Namibia Port, among others, to
repair their ships.
Uncomfortable with this trend, Elshcon alerted NPA of the development via a
letter dated 28th May 2018 indicating the need to halt such dues to encourage
local dry docking.
Responding, NPA, in a letter signed by the Assistant General Manager,
Tariff and Billing, Mrs L.T Gukas, stated: “With respect to vessels coming for
dry-docking and maintenance but not making any operational movements, the
volume conversion and interpolation of GRT shall not be applicable to such operations.
Meanwhile, vessels that have made first entry into any Nigerian Port and
re-enters any other Port on the same voyage (such as service boats) shall pay
the following rates and these rates are also applicable for vessels coming for
repairs and maintenance: Ship Dues: $0.938 * 8GRT + 1176; $160.89 Per
Commending the Federal Government for the timely intervention and the
management of Elshcon for bringing the issue to the notice of the NPA, the
Marine Club of Nigeria, Ship Owners Association of Nigeria and the Nigerian
Chamber of Shipping noted that the new measures would be beneficial for both
the maritime industry and the local shipyards in the country.
“This feat is one to which the maritime industry and the local shipyards
shall remain grateful for, as it serves as a win-win situation for all parties
affected,” they said.
The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Elshcon Nigeria Limited, Dr.
Emi Membere-Otaji emphasized the need for the regulatory bodies to entrench
practices that will boost the maritime sector, rather than one that will stifle
and mitigate the progress. He, however, commended the Nigerian Ports Authority
for their timely understanding of the situation and intervention, adding that
the economic gains of this key decision cannot be quantified, as a good number
of vessels will now return to the country’s territorial waters and consequently
increase employment and stimulate the nation’s economy.