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Leaders in the maritime sector

Article - December 12, 2012
The successful, fair, sustainable development of an economy relies on pioneering homegrown talent being able to thrive
With a coastline of 900 nautical miles, 200 miles of exclusive economic zone, 572 kilometres of inland waterways and eight coastal states, Nigeria is a hub of multimodal transportation opportunity. The maritime industry provides the vehicle for oil and gas, comprising 85 per cent of the nation’s economy. Central issues uniting industry leaders and public agencies are training of the massive workforce and creation of maritime ministry. A core group of companies set the standards as sector drivers. 

SLOK (est. 1987) is a 100 per cent Nigerian-owned company, attributing success to solid engineers with technical hands-on experience as well as a business background. Its workforce is found and built on a series of community elected scholarships. The company is negotiating with South Africa and Dubai to bring advanced simulation technology for localised worker training, and is employing a growing number of Nigerians. Says Joseph Nassif, group Managing Director, “Our company is set out to benefit from the direction the Nigerian Content Act is giving. We will add more than 600 crew members in the next eight years.”

Bourbon Interoil Nigeria Ltd is a 20 years standing joint venture of Nigerian Interoil and European Bourbon, providing for most oil and gas companies in Nigeria and the sole builders of a series of 18m offshore uniquely ocean faring aluminium hull vessels. Today there is a fleet of 42 such vessels and an 80 per cent Nigerian workforce of over 1500 people. The company set up the colossal West Atlantic Shipyard (WAS) venture, contributing significantly to Port Harcourt’s strategic position. Among the company’s core values are cost reduction to clients for provision of quality services and technologically advanced vessels. Managing Director Adekunle Areogun summarises, “We started building aluminium vessels, we took a risk and entered a new market. Now we are creating a hub in the region.”

Sopetro Marine is the largest importer of refined petroleum production in Africa, further distinguished by being the government-to-government petroleum product supplier to the Republic of Benin. Incorporated in 2010, its secret to success in such a short time is hard work, good partnerships and matching the right kind of equipment to the right kinds of opportunities. It offers fleets with measures and technical operations to trans-ship International Association cargo tankers. Sopetro’s leadership qualities are humility, the ability to operate under the greatest amount of stress and trust in a team effort. Managing Director Mina Oforiokuma reiterates, “Sopetro is a company with high levels of professional service to offer; the company’s success is not just based on the implementation of the Nigerian Content Act. Only hard work is the way to success.”

Olisa Agbakoba & Associates (OA&A) was founded in 1983 by a group of legal practitioners, with a confidence in legal framework that goes back to 1951. OA&A founded Nigeria’s Chamber of Shipping. They are the leading consultants to the Ministry of Transport and National Maritime Authority on the formulation of new shipping policy for West Africa and Nigeria. According to Olisa Agbakoba, Senior Partner, “OA&A is a company that has greatly shaped the legal environment and is guiding Nigeria on the way to becoming a global maritime hub.”