$1.5 billion Badagry dockyard gets Samsung and Hyundai as technical partners. Will it get public sector support?

Samsung and Hyundai Heavy Industries have been named technical partners of the Badagry Ship Repair and Maritime Engineering Company (BSMEC) consortium.This partnership is committed to developing the Badagry Dry Dock project by employing the promotional and technical expertise facilities of the heavy industries involved. Badagry was selected as the consortium’s location instead of other areas which include Lekki Free Trade Zone, Ogogoro Island, and Bonny, following the results of feasibility studies carried out in those locations.

Large vessels and offshore units are the main targets for repair and maintenance by BSMEC, with plans to include the entire West African market in the catchment area of the facility. In particular, the facility’s services cater to oil and gas related vessels, large crude carriers, offshore drilling rigs, offshore support vessels, and LNG carriers.

The Hyundai Shipbuilding Division, which is number one in the world and leads the shipbuilding industry with a 15 percent market share, has the potential of achieving the vision for this project. BSMEC is also working with other globally renowned technical partners and shipyard operators, like Damen Shipyard.

According to Taiwo Afolabi, the Chairman of BSMEC and Sifax Logistics and Maritime Services Limited (a participating company), the vision for the Badagry dockyard is to make it a world class ship repair and maintenance centre in Nigeria. BSMEC is made up of five successful Nigerian companies with a common business interest in promoting Nigerian content and quality service delivery.

If BSMEC’s vision for the dry dock is achieved, Nigeria would be looking at what Afolabi calls a “game changer“; creation of more jobs, a likely foreign exchange earner, and the development of the oil and maritime industries. All of which the country presently needs.

Nigeria’s maritime industry is rife with challenges brought on by failure to implement policies, for the most part. According to the Director-General of the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping, Ify Anazonwu-Akerele, next to oil, the maritime industry is capable of increasing the amount of revenue generated in the country. Recently, indigenous shipowners in Nigeria lamented that poorly maintained ships contribute to the prevalent loss of businesses to foreigners in the coastal shipping business. The Federal Government and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) were asked to look into protecting the business and the industry.

Although BSMEC is 100 percent owned by private firms who have invested solely based on business interests, it could also do with the support and encouragement of NIMASA and the Federal Government.

Perhaps, the alignment of all these key players towards the achievement of a common goal to drive indigenous content, presents an opportunity for the Nigerian maritime industry – and subsequently, the economy – to witness an impressive boost with relative ease.

BSMEC invested $1.5 billion last month in the ship repair project located in Badagry, Lagos.

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