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CEOs Talk Business: How local industries in Nigeria can benefit from AfCFTA opportunities – Carrodano

...And the big challenges in shipping

With over fifty years of quality service provision in the shipping sub-sector of the maritime industry, much of which was spent in Nigeria, Captain Pier Luigi Carrodano, the immediate past Group Managing Director of Comet Shipping Agencies Nigeria Ltd., is certain of Nigeria’s edge in economic opportunities present in the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, which is aimed at boosting intra- trade in Africa. In this special interview on ‘CEOs Talk Business’, Carrodano who had just been conferred with an honorary fellowship award by the Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM) in recognition of his immense contribution to the association, talked about the importance of Nigeria positioning its strengths, addressing challenges and actively participating in regional integration efforts, as well as supporting local businesses for competitiveness in the eye of the market.  Carrodano also talked about key interests of providing adequate port and logistics infrastructure, ensuring trade facilitation, improved power supply, reducing bureaucracy and enhancing security measures amongst other matters, in order to boost shipping as the heart of international commerce.

Former Group Managing Director, Comet Shipping Agencies Nigeria, Pier Carrodano, conferred with Honorary Fellowship of the Nigerian Association of Master Mariners.


The interview.

What does this award by the Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM) mean to you, having served in the shipping sector for over five decades?

An honorary fellowship award from an association is a prestigious recognition bestowed upon individuals who have made significant contributions or achievements in a particular field or profession. It is a mark of distinction and honour, acknowledging the recipients’ outstanding accomplishments and positive impact on the field or society.

By granting an honorary fellowship award, NAMM expresses the high regard and respect that the association holds for me. I am deeply honoured and humbled to receive the prestigious fellowship award from the NAMM, recognising my achievements, contributions, and influence in the shipping field. This accolade holds a profound significance for me, especially considering my five decades of dedicated service in the maritime industry.

Reflecting upon my journey, I am grateful for the opportunities, challenges, and experiences shaping my career. The shipping industry has been my lifelong passion, and to be acknowledged by an esteemed organisation such as NAMM fills my heart with immense pride and joy.

This fellowship award represents more than a personal achievement; it symbolizes the culmination of years of hard work, perseverance, and commitment to the maritime sector. It signifies the recognition of my efforts and the impact I have made within the shipping community and the broader scope of the Nigerian maritime industry.

The Honorary Fellowship, besides giving honour for this prestigious award, calls for the observance of duties. I, therefore, reiterate my steady commitment to the principles and values upheld by the Nigerian Association of Master Mariners. I pledge to continue advocating for excellence, knowledge sharing, and professional development within our industry.

Kindly share your thoughts about shipping and the sustenance of world economy

Shipping sustains the world economy by facilitating global trade, and connecting producers and consumers worldwide. It provides cost-effective transportation, optimizes supply chains, supports employment, enables the movement of energy resources, and fosters economic independence between nations. The impact of shipping extends beyond the industry, stimulating related sectors and driving growth in emerging markets.

The shipping industry is a significant source of employment worldwide. It provides jobs for sailors, dockworkers, logistics personnel, and related industries such as shipbuilding, port operations, and freight forwarding. These jobs contribute to local economies, generate income, and foster economic development in coastal regions.

It plays crucial role in transporting energy resources such as oil, natural gas, and coal. These resources are vital for sustaining industrial production, powering homes, and fuelling transportation systems. Shipping ensures a reliable supply of energy resources to countries lacking domestic production, supporting their economic activities.

Shipping promotes economic interdependence between nations by enabling international trade relationships and contributes significantly to the economic growth of emerging markets and developing countries. It enables them to participate in global trade, access international markets and attract foreign investments.

Shipping infrastructure development, including ports and logistics networks, can foster economic diversification and improve living standards in these regions.

Overall, shipping is a critical component of the world economy facilitating trade, supporting globalization, and sustaining the complex web of global supply chains.

How would shipping impact the growth of the AfCFTA?

Shipping can have a significant impact on the growth of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) by enhancing trade facilitation and promoting economic integration among African countries.

Shipping enables trade expansion through a reliable and efficient mode of transportation for goods across long distances, enabling African countries to access wider markets.

It supports the movement of various commodities, including agricultural products, manufactures goods, and natural resources.

Employment and Economic Opportunities:  Shipping and maritime-related industries offer employment opportunities, particularly in coastal regions. The growth of shipping under the AfCFTA can generate jobs in areas such as port operations, shipbuilding, freight forwarding, and maritime services. This can contribute to poverty reduction, promote economic inclusivity, and support economic growth.

In summary, shipping can have a transformative impact on the growth of the AfCFTA by expanding trade, improving supply chain connectivity, supporting industrial development, attracting investment, generating employment, and fostering, and fostering regional integration. A well-functioning shipping sector is essential for the successful implementation and realization of the economic benefits of the AfCFTA.

Nigeria draws multiple benefits like access to a larger market of over 1.3 billion people across Africa and economic diversification by promoting non-oil sectors.

In summary, while AfCFTA presents opportunities for Nigeria, its successful implementation and realisation of benefits will depend on effective strategies, policy reforms, and investments. By leveraging its strengths, addressing challenges, and actively participating in regional integration efforts, Nigeria can position itself to benefit from AfCFTA and contribute to Africa’s economic transformation.

However, it’s important to note that realizing the benefits of AfCFTA will require Nigeria to address specific challenges. These challenges include improving infrastructure, enhancing trade facilitation measures, addressing non-tariff barriers, strengthening institutional frameworks, and promoting competitiveness. Additionally, Nigeria must ensure that domestic industries are adequately prepared to face increased competition and meet quality standards and market demands.

What are the big challenges in shipping?

The most significant challenges in shipping are environmental impact;The industry must address its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.

Rising Fuel Costs: Fluctuating oil prices and cleaner fuel standards increase operational expenses for shipping companies.

Infrastructure limitations: Inadequate port infrastructure and congestion lead to delays and inefficiencies.

Security and Piracy: Maritime security, including piracy and cyber-attacks, remains a concern.

Trade Regulations: Complex and evolving regulations create administrative burdens and affect shipping routes and costs.

Geopolitical Uncertainty: Political conflicts and trade disputes impact shipping routes and regional stability.

Addressing these challenges requires stakeholder collaboration to drive innovation, implement regulatory changes, and ensure a sustainable and efficient shipping sector.

Specifically for Nigeria, its shipping industry faces challenges such as inadequate port infrastructure, maritime security threats, customs procedures, corruption, inefficient trade facilitation, port logistics infrastructure, inconsistent power supply, limited local shipping fleet, and environmental pollution. Addressing these challenges requires improving infrastructure, enhancing security measures, reducing bureaucracy, promoting transparency, and investing in sustainable practices.


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