Bello who spoke during the visit of President of SOAN, Dr Mcgeorge Onyung, to the Council said multiple parallel associations among shipowers was an impediment to the development of shipping in the country.
Bello according to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) said, “We do not want to see many associations within the shipping industry, and your coming together will remove impediments from the industry.
“We need to come together, galvanise and even seek help from the Federal Government.
“This is because, the NSC has something in common with the shippers, and that is to ensure we have a robust industry”.
Bello told the shipowners that the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) was tackling the issue of national fleet since it has to do with finance and indigenous capacity.
He also added that the issue of national fleet was to be private sector driven, noting that Nigeria has the expertise.
According to him, “We want to see increase in the tonnage, and if we do not have ships, we cannot trade.
“Presently, 800 million dollars are charges by foreign ships as freight, for bringing our cargoes; we are creating jobs outside, increasing the wealth of other nations.
“We need to own and operate ships 100 per cent and so, the importance of this meeting, to review things and see the way forward after the lockdown, since people have started travelling.”
Bello said that investors would be ready to come into Nigeria once impediments to shipping were removed, adding that there was the need to change some policies and provide opportunities for diversification.
“We need indigenous ships so that our seafarers can have their air time.
“Also, we must have that blue print implementation and actualisation of indigenous ship; so, the need to come together to face government and get these things done,” he said.
Onyung in his response said the issue is that everyone was interested in leadership and wants to be in power.
He said, “I have been in the medical field before I ventured into shipping, and I can say that shipping is the biggest thing now and whatever I can do, I assure you that I will do it.
“Anyone who wants to remain alone should do so; the train has started moving and we want to move with you on that train, because you understand the pains and problems of ship owners.
“As far as working together with the NSC is concerned, I will continue to preach that gospel, because when anybody is on the water, you cannot be an island there”.