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Egypt reaps bountiful harvest from Suez Canal in 2021

Suez Canal, Egypt
– rakes in $6.3bn from 1.27 billion tonnage
—-records 20,694 vessels patronage
Eyewitness reporter with agency report
The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) has announced an unprecedented revenue of $6.3bn from the Canal, with 1.27 billion net tonnages in 2021.
Suez Canal accounts for 15.7% of the global seaborne grain trade.

Osama Rabie, the Chairperson of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), announced on Sunday that the navigation statistics of the canal in 2021 recorded new and unprecedented figures, achieving the highest annual revenue in the history of the canal — amounting to $6.3bn — and the largest annual net tonnages of 1.27 billion tonnes.

The SCA chairman explained that navigation in the canal in 2021 witnessed the transit of 20,694 ships in both directions, compared to 18,830 ships in 2020, recording an increase of 10%.

The total net tonnages also increased by 8.5%, reaching 1.27 billion tonnes, compared to the 1.17 billion tonnes recorded in 2020.

He added that the Suez Canal’s revenues in 2021 achieved a significant increase of 12.8% in dollars, recording $6.3bn, as opposed to 2020’s $5.6bn.

Rabie stressed that the indicators related to the volume of trade transiting the Suez Canal (represented in net tonnages) exceeded the rates of increase in the growth rates of global trade, despite the fact that the rate of increase in the volume of world trade freight transported by sea during the year 2021 amounted to 3.7%, according to Clarksons Shipping.

The rate of increase in the volume of world trade transiting through the canal was about 8.5%.

Moreover, the volume of container trade transiting the canal increased by 7.2% in 2021, while the rate of increase in the volume of container trade globally reached 6% during the same period.

Additionally, the increase in the volume of trade in bulk goods passing through the canal was 19.5% compared to 4.1%, which is the percentage of the global increase in the volume of casting goods during 2021.

Rabie pointed out that navigational reports in 2021 recorded a significant increase in the transit rates of various types of ships compared to 2020.

The number of liquified natural gas carriers increased by 36.6% from 686 ships in 2020 to 937 ships in 2021.

Container ships transiting the canal increased by 10.1 %, bringing the total number to 5,186 container ships, compared to 4,710 ships in 2020.

The increase in the number of bulk ships also reached 15.3%, with 5,893 ships recorded in 2021, compared to 2020’s 5,113.

This increase is seen as a boom in the general indicators of transiting bulk ships. The highest rate recorded in the history of the canal achieved the highest revenue, which exceeded $1bn for the first time in the canal’s history.

The Suez Canal also acquired about 15.7% of the total global seaborne grain trade, with a total cargo volume of 83.5 million tonnes.

Rabie stressed that the indicators of performance rates during 2021 reflect the success of the flexible marketing and pricing policies pursued by the authority in gaining the confidence of the navigation community and flexibly dealing with the changes occurring in the maritime transport industry in light of the challenges of the pandemic.

This resulted in recording the highest rate of attracting ships — up to 4,920 ships — and achieving the largest revenue related to marketing policies since its implementation, amounting to $1.1bn of the canal’s total revenue in 2021.

Marketing efforts, in general, played a major role in increasing the number of ships crossing the canal for the first time and reaching an unprecedented record of more than 1,532 ships, generating $597.6m in revenues.

He explained that these unprecedented indicators come in parallel with achieving promising results in terms of several domains of the authority’s ambitious 2023 development strategy, which is spearheaded by developing the navigation course.

Furthermore, he noted that the total rates of dredging in the project to develop the southern sector of the canal amounted to 7.6 million cubic metres of saturated sand, where approximately 6.5 million cubic metres of saturated sand was removed. This took place within a project in the Small Bitter Lake spanning 122 to 132 km.

Approximately 1.1 million cubic metres of saturated sand were removed in the expansion and deepening of the canal from 132 to 162 km.

Rabie revealed that the Suez Canal intends to adopt new work mechanisms and controls in the new year to support the preservation of the environment that is in line with the directions of the International Maritime Organisation to reduce carbon emissions by adopting some new measures.

The measures include providing incentives for environmentally-friendly ships and discussing ways to use renewable energy to declare the Suez Canal a ‘Green Canal’.

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House of Reps gives NIMASA green light to disburse CVFF –appoints audit firm to coordinate, monitor  disbursement

Hon. Legor Idagbo
The eyewitness reporter
The House of Representatives has given the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) a clean bill of health over the controversial Cabotage Vessels Financing Funds(CVFF) and consequently directed the agency to disburse the funds.
It would be recalled that the lawmakers, a few weeks ago, halted the planned disbursement after long and painstaking groundwork made by the Ministry of Transportation and NIMASA towards the disbursement process.
The House had raised concerns over the funds, said to be about #700m, and decided to ask its committee on Nigerian Contents Development and Monitoring to investigate the funds.
This followed a motion during its sitting last month on the matter and subsequently directed the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to stop the planned disbursement of the fund.
However, after concluding its investigation, the House found tenable the need to disburse the funds to the eligible indigenous ship owners.
Addressing journalists in Abuja Thursday, the Chairman of the committee, Hon. Legor Idagbo said that its investigations indicated that due process was followed, informing that the disbursement can now be made.
“The House of Representatives at its sitting on Tuesday, 4 May 2023, deliberated on a motion on the Planned Disbursement of $700 Million Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund, and investigate the Total Accrual of the Fund, and referred same to the House Committee on Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring to, amongst other resolutions, investigate and urge the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to immediately stop the planned disbursement of $700 million to Nigerian citizens and companies and to lay before the floor of the House, an audited statement of account showing all monies that have accrued to the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund not later than fourteen (14) days from the date of this resolution.
“The Committee requested the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency and the Ministry of Transportation to provide detailed information on the total amount accrued to the Fund and disbursements since inception.
“The Committee met with the Minister of Transportation and the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency ({NIMASA) on Thursday, 11 May 2023 to find out about the details concerning the matter.
” After a thorough analysis of the various submissions on the matter coupled with the explanations given by the Ministry and NIMASA, the Committee discovered that due process was followed in the planned disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund.
“The Committee notes that the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund (CVFF) is a fund that was set up in 2003 by the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act.
” The Fund was established for the purpose of developing indigenous ship acquisition capacity, and to provide financial assistance to indigenous shipping operators.
“The Committee further notes that there is a lack of Capacity amongst indigenous/ Domestic Coastal operators in Nigeria, thus the reason Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPC) still awards contracts to foreign shipping Companies in contravention of the Cabotage and Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act.
“Some of these awards have been previously investigated by the Committee which led to their cancellation.
“It was also discovered that the total funds of $360m in the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund (CVFF) account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) represents 50%, while the remaining counterpart funds of 50% is from stakeholders and Banks which is 15% and 35% respectively.
“NIMASA should go ahead with the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund (CVFF) in compliance with the extant laws and laid down guidelines for the said disbursement.
“To ensure the disbursement does not violate any of the extant laws made by the National Assembly, the following persons were nominated to supervise the disbursement process:
“Rt. Hon. (Barr.) Legor Idagbo  – Chairman ii. Hon. Henry Nwawuba – Member iii. | Mrs. Kehinde Bolade Olaiya – Committee Clerk.
“An Audit firm, Stratford Hill and Co. was appointed by the committee as the coordinating enforcement auditor for the CVFF.
“The Committee applauds NNPC for its commitment to awarding the shipping contracts to indigenous companies that have built capacity to the level where they can successfully execute these contracts.
“The Committee is grateful to the leadership of the House for the confidence bestowed on it to carry out the investigation”.
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President Tinubu appoints Gbajabiamila Chief of Staff

Gbajabiamila , Tinubu
 President Bola Tinubu has appointed Femi Gbajabiamila, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, as his Chief of Staff.

An authoritative source in the Presidency confirmed the development on Thursday.

The source said the president finally made the decision after wide consultations on the contending candidates.

Gbajabiamila has been a member of the House of Representatives since 2012 and has just been re-elected to the House in the last elections.

The choice of Gbajabiamila by the president is not a surprise to many political pundits as he has been a very close ally to the president.

They are part of the brains behind the formation of the All-Progressives Party (APC).

He will now have to forgo his seat in the House of Representatives if he accepts the appointment.

Olufemi Hakeem Gbajabiamila CFR, is a Nigerian lawyer and foundation member of the APC.

He has been a member of the House of Representatives since 2019.

Gbajabiamila was born in Lagos in 1962 and attended Igbobi College for his secondary education and the University of Lagos as part of his education.

He is married to Salamatu Gbajabiamila.

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Maritime media, NUJ mourn as Ray Ugochukwu passes on to glory

Ray Ugochukwu
The eyewitness reporter
The media confraternity of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos State Council and the maritime media, was thrown into a deep shock and mourning Thursday at the sudden demise of Mr Ray Ugochukwu, a crack journalist of international repute.
The entire members of the NUJ and the maritime media, his immediate constituency, received the news of his death, which was broken by Mr Leye Ajayi, the Chairman of the NUJ Lagos council, in a terse message posted on the council’s WhatsApp platform, with mixed emotion of sadness, shock and disbelief.
Shell-shocked, most colleagues of the deceased, who thought the announcement was a joke taken too far, make frantic calls to the NUJ council officials who confirmed the unfortunate incident.
As the rude reality of the death of the erudite maritime journalist sank in, many of them paid glowing tributes to the man widely regarded as the encyclopedia of the maritime press and a repository of wise sayings.
In its statement on the death of Mr Ugochukwu, Leye Ajayi eulogised the huge reportorial qualities of the deceased who has practised journalism for over 30 years
“With heavy hearts, we mourn the death of a media giant, a versatile Unionist and a brilliant journalist, Mr Ray Ugochukwu who passed on on Thursday.

“The death of Ray came as a big shock to the union.

“We are going to miss his courageous attributes and mentorship.

“He was also one of the pillars of the Lagos Council of NUJ and served the union meritoriously in his capacities as the Chairman of, the Seminar Committee; and as a Member, the Committee on Milestone Recognition of Media Icons In Nigeria.

“He spent most of his life in ensuring the advancement of Maritime Reporting as well as the welfare of Journalists.

“He worked in several media houses.

“Among his giant strides, he was a former President of the Maritime Reporters’ Association of Nigeria (MARAN); President, Maritime Journalists Association of Nigeria (MAJAN); and a former Chairman of the Daily Times Chapel of NUJ.

“The legacies of Ray are indelible and will exist forever.

“May God grant his soul eternal rest” the Lagos NUJ said in a statement signed by Leye Ajayi, the Council Chairman and Tunde Olalere, the Council Secretary.

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