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The study investigates the importance of Ocean shipment on Nigeria’s economic development. Ocean shipment trade, in thousands of tonnes served as the independent variable in all the three hypotheses defined while, the gross domestic product, Nigerian value of external reserves and external debt payment were employed as the proxies for the level of economic development, respectively for hypotheses I through 3. A simple regression analysis was applied to the time series data. Findings of the study include the fact that a significant and positive relationship exits between ocean shipment export trade and the gross domestic product, external reserve and external debt payment. Also shipment export trade, is a significant contributor to Nigeria’s economic development under each of the dependent variables. On the basis of these findings and conclusions, the study, among other things, recommends that the overall institutional setting in the economy should be improved upon in order to reap in full the benefits of ocean shipment trade in Nigeria. Also, there is need to improve the poor transparency and hence reduce corruption that appears to be endemic in our country, and hence improve the gains from shipment export trade.

Keywords:Ocean Shipment Trade, Gross Domestic Product,External Reserve, External Debt Payment, World Shipping Industry, Containerization, African Maritime Countries, National Marine Authority, Area of Cabotage, Shipping Policy.





Shipping has for a long time been recognized as one of the strong catalysts for socio-economic development. Back in 1776, Adams Smith noted that “A business working in a country town without links to the outside world can never achieve high levels of efficiency because its small market will limit the degree of specialization”. Because shipping is one of the cheapest and efficient modes of transportation over long distances, it has since the ancient times been at the forefront of opening up of the world, and thus a major driver of the process of globalization.

Shipping, especially container shipping, has been both a cause and effect of globalization. Container shipping could lay claim to being the world’s first truly global industry. In fact, container shipping could claim to be the industry which, more than any other, makes it possible for a truly global economy to work. It connects countries, markets, businesses and people, allowing them to buy and sell goods on a scale not previously possible. It is now impossible to imagine world trade, and ultimately our lives as consumers, without container shipping. Shipping has led to a phenomenal growth in world merchandise trade, which has consistently grown faster than


output. In 2006, goods loaded at ports worldwide are estimated at 7.42 billion tonnes, up from 5.98 billion tonnes in 2000. The value of total world exports increased from US$6,454 billion in 2002 to US$40,393 billion in 2005, representing an increase of 64 per cent. (See Fig 4).

According to Kummi (2007), shipping has emerged as one of the most powerful socio-economic and political forces shaping the world today. The phenomenon of shipping is moving the world towards increasing and irreversible integration of economic, social, cultural and political systems. Globalization through shipping trade has “decoupled time and space” resulting in the “death of distance”. Thanks to globalization, the once big world has been transformed into “one little village”.

Shipping has been one of the main causes and effects of globalization. The impact of globalization on shipping, especially container shipping, has been most phenomenal. Indeed, shipping connects countries, markets, businesses and people, allowing them to produce, buy and sell goods on a scale not previously possible. It therefore becomes necessary, if not imperative for countries to try to evaluate impact of shipping trade on their economies.


Consequently, this study is an appraisal of the impact of shipping trade on economic growth in Nigeria.


The maritime industry is international in nature and is acknowledged to be a very dynamic component in the socio-economic configuration of any given maritime nation. Nigeria is no exception. Even land-locked countries such as Mali and Burkina - Faso in West Africa also hinge, their economic fortunes on the maritime sector relying as it were on the port of Abidjan for import and export transactions. One major problem that has continued to plague the industry in Nigeria is the issue of adequate policy formulation and implementation, hence the contribution of shipping trade to economic growth has therefore being a subject of debate.

In traditional maritime nations such as United Kingdom, the USA, the Scandinavians, other European Countries among others, the factors of time, proper planning, co-ordination and implementation of clear-cut policies through government intervention largely account for the enviable levels of efficiency, sophistication and monumental success in their maritime activities especially in respect of its contribution to economic growth. The reverse appears to be the case in Nigeria as the fortunes of the


industry have continued to suffer progressive catastrophe over the years. A very near example is the fact that the Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL) which took delivery of 19 (nineteen) brand new tonnages from European shipyards in 1979 and 1980, has not only lost all her vessels but has been liquidated altogether. This is complicated by the inability of governments of different types to float an indigenous national carrier up till date.

Therefore, the basic questions that will agitate the mind of the researcher include the following:

A            What has been the trend and pattern of shipping or maritime trade in Nigeria?

B            What are the causes of the trends in the shipping trade?

C            What has been the impact of shipping trade on economic growth in Nigeria using economic indicators of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), External Reserves and Debt Services payment

as yardsticks?

This study therefore, investigates the impact of ocean shipping export trade on economic development in Nigeria.


The central objective of this study is to empirically determine the impact of ocean shipping export trade on Nigeria’s economic


development. Specifically, the study intends to accomplish the


1)          To determine the relationship between ocean shipping export trade and Nigeria’s gross domestic product.

2)          To ascertain the influence of ocean shipping export  on Nigeria’s external reserve.

3)          To determine whether ocean shipping export  significantly influences the level of external debts payment.

4)          To isolate policy constraints towards the effective use of oceanshipping export  to boost economy and proffer policyrecommendations


Having stated the above objectives, we therefore, consider the

following research question relevant for the study?

1)          What is the nature of relationship between ocean shipping export  and Nigeria’s economic development?

2)          To what extent has ocean shipping export  influenced the level of Nigeria’s gross domestic product?

3)          What is the influence of ocean shipping export  on Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserve?


4)          To what extent has ocean shipping export  influenced Nigeria’s debt service payment?

5)          What are the policy constraints toward the effective use of ocean shipping export  receive in Nigeria?


In order to carry out an adequate research work, and to analyze the relationship of the needed variables, we shall make the following hypotheses:

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