Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo; former Head of State, Alhaji Abdulsalam Abubakar; Minister of Transport Senator Idris Umar, and Africa Region Vice President of World Bank, Mrs. Obiageli Ezekwesili, are among dignitaries expected to participate in this year's edition of the annual Nigeria Maritime Expo tagged NIMAREX 2013.
The NIMAREX is an annual event hosted jointly by the Federal Ministry of Transport together with its various parastatals and stakeholders in the maritime industry to showcase the nation's enormous maritime endowments to the rest of the world.
The first two editions tagged NIMAREX 2011 and NIMAREX 2012, declared open by representatives of President Goodluck Jonathan and held at the Eko Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, recorded high attendance by various interest groups and international maritime companies.
Two former Heads of State; Retired General Yakubu Gowon and Chief Ernest Shonekan and representative of the Secretary General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Mr. Koji Sekimizu, attended the event.
The NIMAREX 2013 Secretariat stated in a statement issued in Lagos said while NIMAREX 2011 and NIMAREX 2012 have been hailed as huge successes with the quality of participants and exhibitors, arrangements are in top gear to ensure that NIMAREX 2013 surpasses the first two editions "in all ramifications".
The statement signed by NIMAREX Executive Secretary, Mr. Bolaji Akinola, said that a 2013 Planning Committee made up of government officials drawn from various agencies and major stakeholders has already been inaugurated to achieve this objective.
The NIMAREX 2013 Planning Committee, he said, has Eze Egwuagwu Chijioke Collins and Mrs. Margaret Orakwusi as Chairman and Vice Chairman respectively.
The statement said that the theme for NIMAREX 2013 has been chosen as 'Nigeria Maritime: Invest Now'.
"NIMAREX 2013 has been scheduled to hold at the usual venue of the Expo Centre, Eko Hotel from March 12 to 14, 2013 and we are expecting greater participation from Nigerian and foreign shipping companies as well as international oil companies", he stated.
He said the event will be declared open by President Goodluck Jonathan. He said NIMAREX 2013 has been divided into two distinct parts namely the exhibition and conference sessions with both running simultaneously.
"The conference session will run concurrently with the exhibition and we have highly distinguished speakers lined up to discuss various issues during the conference. We have three conference sessions in all with former President Obasanjo, Abubakar and Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan expected to chair each session while Senator Umar, Retired Admiral Alison Maduekwe and Senator Zainab Kure will serve as Co-Chairmen of each conference session", he stated.
He said the theme for NIMAREX 2013 was carefully chosen to reflect the aspirations of the federal government for accelerated growth of the nation's maritime industry.
"We have talked a lot about the opportunities in the past, now we're moving a step further to help discerning investors actualise those opportunities and that is why this time around we're focusing the conference sub-themes on trade, financing and regulations", he said.
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Shippers' Council, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Maritime Academy of Nigeria Oron and the Nigerian Navy, according to Akinola, are all part of organising NIMAREX 2013.
Other co-organisers of the expo, which is spearheaded by the Indigenous Shipowners Association of Nigeria (ISAN) include the Lagos State Ministry of Transportation, Federal College of Fisheries, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Maritime Arbitrators Association of Nigeria (MAAN), Nigerian Chamber of Shipping (NCS) and the Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM) among others.