Morocco, Egypt, South Africa, Djibouti and Togo have been listed among the best maritime connected countries in 2018, the Level of Maritime Connectivity Index, published by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in its recent report has revealed.
According to the index, Morocco was ranked the best connected port in Africa with 71.5 points; Egypt followed as the second with70.3 points; South Africa took the third position with 40.1 points; Djibouti ranks fourth, with 37.0 while Togo was rated as the fifth with 35.9 points, all in 2018.
Nigeria, which is ranked as the biggest economy in Africa, was seen missing in the maritime connectivity index apparently due the unfriendly state of doing business at the ports; high port inefficiency and cumbersome, as well as clumsy cargo clearing procedures.
Ironically, the maritime value chain plays a crucial role in the Nigerian economy, as around 80 percent of Nigerian trade is transported by sea and via ports. In today’s world economy, business and societies depend on the efficient clearance of vessels and goods in ports to function, develop and prosper, which Nigerian ports still struggle with.
China ranks as having the best connected ports globally, with 187.8 points; Singapore was rated as the country with the second most connected ports in the global maritime connectivity index with 133.9 points; Korea Republic emerged the third best with 118.8 points; Hong Kong was rated as the fourth with 113.5 points while Malaysia was rated as the fifth best connected port with 109.9 ranking in 2018.
Other countries include the Netherlands, which emerged as having the sixth most connected ports of the world with 98.0 points; Germany was rated as the seventh with 97.1; The United States ranked eighth with 96.7; The United Kingdom was rated as ninth with 95.6 ranking while Belgium 91.1, took the tenth position in the 2018 index.
On the other hand, countries with least connected maritime domain include Montserrat with 3.0 ranking; Montenegro with 3.0; Albania with 3.0; Anguilla with 3.2 and Palau with 3.3.
In the global space, Norfolk Island ranked first with 0.6; Christmas Island ranked second with 0.6; Cayman Islands rated third position with 1.2; Bermuda ranked fourth with 1.5; Tuvalu rated fifth 1.6, the report said.
The report further stated that Wallis and Futuna Islands was rated sixth with 1.6; Nauru ranked seventh with 1.9; Cook Islands was rated eighth with 2.0 points; Greenland ranked ninth with 2.3 while Timor-Leste ranked tenth with 2.5 points.
The report said that world’s seaborne trade is blooming, and it was strengthened by the solid improvements in the global economy since 2017. “Growing at 4 percent, the fastest growth in five years, global maritime trade gathered thrust and elevated sentiment in the shipping industry. Total volumes reached 10.7 billion tons, reflecting an additional 411 million tons, nearly half of which were made of dry bulk commodities.
“Global containerised trade recorded an increase of 6.4 percent, after seeing historical dips in two previous years. Dry bulk cargo increased by 4.0 percent, up from 1.7 percent in 2016, whereas growth in crude oil shipments slowed to 2.4 percent,” the report stated.
The report states: “The Nigerian maritime industry could be the most competitive maritime economy on the continent, as all economic performance indices show strong potential.
“The Nigerian maritime industry has continued to receive support from stakeholders in repositioning it for efficiency and global best practices. For instance, over the last two years, the present administration has focused on repositioning the ports through the National Action Plans on cross border trading coordinated by the Presidential Ease of Doing Business Council (PEBEC) and series of Presidential Executive Orders targeted at port efficiency.
This has therefore resulted in improvements in some of the maritime industry indicators such as the Liner Shipping Connectivity Index (which captures how well countries are connected to global shipping networks).
Liner shipping connectivity index in Nigeria was reported at 18.93 in 2018, according to the UNCTAD collection of maritime transport indicators representing a marked increase in Liner Shipping Connectivity from the Port Liberalisation Reforms of the 2005 to 2015.
The report however noted that the “maritime industry remains a very vital aspect of the Nigerian economy. Nigerians are heavily dependent on foreign goods which are mostly imported through the sea ports. Hence, the maritime sector holds the key to the country’s growth and development,” the stated.