Nigerian billionaire, Ini Ekong Udonwa, who runs a shipping company in Singapore has completed a factory in Akwa Ibom for manufacturing and repair of vessels. The firm, Norfin, has already built offshore vessels to support the local production drive.
This investment aims at increasing Nigeria’s shipbuilding capacity in consonance with the country’s nine other shipyards, some of which are fully operational and others non-functional.
The last time anyone heard about government investment plan for shipbuilding in Nigeria was in 2013 when the Federal Government approved a N58.6 billion ($369 million) fund for the construction of a ship building facility in Delta State
The aim was to curtail the manufacturing deficit present in the shipping industry, which costs millions of dollars in overseas vessel acquisition and dry-docking.
Shipbuilding has the propensity to drive sustainable development and capacity building in Nigeria’s maritime sector. But the challenges of inadequate power supply and absence of a viable steel industry still persist.
Meanwhile, the dearth of high capacity shipyards for a country with over 5000 vessels visiting annually will continue to drive business to Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Namibia, Angola, and South Africa.