Two regulators, the Nigerian Shippers' Council (NSC) and National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), have established jointly a technical committee on shipping insurance.
Mr Hassan Bello, NSC executive secretary, said that the technical committee has been set up to advise the government on how best to mitigate, in a sustainable manner, the additional cost and risk arising from container deposit, demurrage and detention in Nigeria, according to a report in Najia247news.
He said that due to the urgency of the exercise, the committee was expected to complete its work and submit its report within two months.
“All the constituents of shipping must be insured, and we will like it extended to more areas like container deposit and issues like demurrage, delivery and many other aspects of shipping.
“Containerisation is the backbone of international trade and the detaining of containers for a long period compels shipping lines to enforce container deposit as risk mitigation measures.
“The staggering amount paid out as container deposit adds to the cost of doing business by shippers, and right now, we have so many empty containers distorting traffic in Apapa due to the need to return them.
“So, we need a saner way, which is done internationally and not only in Nigeria, and so the need for insurance,” he said.
Mr Bello noted that the task of the committee was to address the possibility of ensuring the viability of the maritime and transport sector through deeper insurance penetration.
He said that there is a need to make insurance a permanent feature in the maritime industry, as the industry is capital intensive, requires investment and has risks attached to it.
Mr Sunday Thomas, Commissioner for Insurance, said that the inauguration of the committee was an indication of their desire to ensure that trade in Nigeria had insurance cover.
In her address, Mrs Ada Okan, director of special duties at NSC, said that the NSC has always paid specific attention to cost moderation, transport infrastructure development, trade facilitation and the development of the maritime industry.
“This journey with NAICOM which started in July is on how best to provide appropriate insurance scheme for the management of risk and additional cost associated with the movement of cargo to, from and within Nigeria.
“Insurance will also provide high value for the maritime sector,” she said.