Despite the huge maritime potentials in the country, Nigeria is not ranked amongst the first five countries in the continent in terms of maritime connectivity.
According to statistics contained in the Maritime Industry Forecast by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Morocco has the highest connectivity with 71.5, followed by Egypt with 70.3.
Both countries are followed by South Africa with 40.1, Djibouti with 37.0 and Togo with 35.9 respectively in 2018.
Liner shipping connectivity index (maximum value in 2004 = 100) 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 2005 to 2015.
The statistics showed that China, Singapore, Korea Republic, Hong Kong (China) and Malaysia have the highest global maritime connectivity of 187.8, 133.9, 118.8, 113.5 and 109.9 respectively in the year under review.
Others are Netherlands, Germany, United States of America, USA, United Kingdom and Belgium with 98.0, 97.1, 96.7, 95.6 and 91.1 respectively in 2018.
The statistics showed that between the year 2001 and 2018, Nigeria's liner shipping connectivity index was highest in 2013 with a 22.91 as against 12.79 in 2000 which was the lowest.
It also showed that liner shipping connectivity index was 21.81, 21.44, 21.35, 20.85 and 20.53 in 2010, 2014, 2012, 2015 and 2016 respectively. These are followed by 19.89, 19.85, 18.96, 18.28, 18.3 and 13.69 in 2007, 2009, 2018, 2008, 2005 and 2004 respectively.
In 2003 and 2000 the nation's liner shipping connectivity index are 13.02 and 12.83 respectively, the statistics showed.
The statistics read in part, "Maritime Industry could be the most competitive maritime economy on the Continent, as all economic maritime performance indices show strong potential; however, there is a significant need for improvement.
"To this end, the Nigerian maritime industry continues 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 Presidential Ease of Doing Business Council, PEBEC, and the series of Presidential Executive Orders targeted at ports 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 (maximum value in 2004 = 100) 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 2005 to 2015.
"While roads serve as the primary conduit within the country, most of Nigeria's merchandise trade (bulk, commodities or containers) occur via the sea. The vast majority of the containers arrive at either Apapa Port, Tin Can Island Port or Onne Port, with the three ports accounting for about 90 per cent of market share in 2017 according to the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, port statistics report 2012-2017.
"Port usage nevertheless has seen a decline in recent years according to the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, which owns the eight-port complexes across the country. According to data sourced from the website of the Nigerian Ports Authority, while (cargo throughput excluding crude oil) rose to its highest point in 2014 with 84.9m tonnes, there has been a decline in preceding years with provisional data for 2018 standing at 35.9m tones (January to September).