Formed in 1979 by General TY Danjuma (Rtd), Nigeria American Line (NAL) began business at Warehouse Road, Apapa, a walking distance from the busy Apapa Port Complex, the hub of maritime trade in Nigeria. NAL initially leased a ship called ‘Hannatu’ which traded between Lagos and Santos in Brazil. This was in the days when Nigeria’s bilateral trade agreement had opened the sea routes to economies in the South American markets. NAL went on to win patronage from Nigeria’s National Supply Company (NNSC) to bring in government goods from abroad by chartering on average two ships a month to haul bulk cargoes like sugar, rice and cement. NAL’s list of prestigous clients included DICON Salt (Nigeria) and project cargoes for Iwopin Paper Mill, ANNAMCO and Volkswagen Nigeria.
NAL became a member of AWAFC (American West African Freight Conference), Brazil-Nigeria Freight Conference and the Mediterranean Line (MEWAC). With the formation of the National Maritime Authority (NMA) IN 1987/88, the profile of NAL increased as NMA encouraged indigenous operators to claim their share of internationally traded cargo involving Nigeria. General TY Danjuma’s line grew even bigger during this period.
NAL began with a core indigenous staff of about 12 in 1979. Today, the staff strength in NAL-COMET is closer to 250 including approximately 12 expatriate staff members. From the Lagos office the NAL-COMET Group has opened branch offices in Port Harcourt which serves Onne, Warri and Calabar seaports.