According to the Gulf of Guinea (GoG), shipping and transportation remain significant barriers to economic growth on the African continent.
Former Secretary General of the GoG, Ambassador Adenike Ukonga, stated at the ongoing Lagos Maritime Week, LMW conference organised by ZOE Maritime Resources in Lagos that maritime transport in Nigeria and within the West African sub-region is underdeveloped. She also added that maritime transport in Nigeria and in the West and Central Africa is still at its and is grossly underdeveloped.
According to Ukonga, the majority of ships offering maritime transportation services in the region of West and Central Africa are from Europe, Asia, and the Far East.
The fact that marine transport, which has such great potential for economic emancipation and the development of coastal nations, is essentially in the hands of non-Africans and firmly in their control, is of significant concern to those who monitor the maritime industry.
Without first travelling via Europe and then being transshipped to Africa, goods cannot be transported from one country along the coast of West and Central Africa to another. However, if maritime transportation is highly established, even within a region, there should be ships ply these routes, stopping at nearly all of the ports of the region, and the time it takes to move products from one country to another should not exceed 2–5 sailing days.
“At the moment, shipping products by ship from Luanda to Lagos takes a minimum of 3–4 months.
“I would like to encourage our business owners to seriously consider investing in marine transportation, particularly interstate maritime transportation, whether it be for the transportation of people or products. There is a critical shortage of our African nations in this area.