The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) is worried at the level of redundancy of some of its port terminals in all the eastern seaports. The authority said it would review approvals issued with respect to the affected terminals in terms of cargoes in order to attract appreciable cargo volumes. It was revealed that the management of the Authority was considering granting new tariff reliefs to some of the terminals.
The Authority’s Acting Managing Director, Mohammed Bello-Koko, also said in Onne that building a modern and resilient port infrastructure would fast track the country’s economic development, facilitate good paying jobs and engender sustained peace across the country. At a meeting with port service providers, Bello-Koko said that NPA would improve service quality and delivery at the eastern ports, so that they could serve as competi- tive alternatives to the ports in Lagos.
He noted that NPA was working with relevant agencies towards reducing clearance time of imports and cost of handling of non-oil exports, to complement the economic diversification agenda of the Federal Government. The managing director stressed that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had approved the first segment of the dual carriage road for the evacuation of cargo covering a distance of 1.2 kilometres, adding that the next segment would be executed this year as provided in the 2022 budget. Bello-Koko explained: “We have made budgetary provisions for the construction of these critical roads. “We have also observed that Onne has transformed into a very busy gateway, unfortunately unauthorised persons have began to find their way into the port to vandalise assets belonging to the authority.
“We all have noticed in recent months the upsurge in cargo traffic at Onne, there has been an improvement in the traffic here and there is need to ensure that what experienced in Lagos does not repeat itself here in terms of traffic congestion and the access roads, which must be free of gridlocks. “In line with our infrastructure development and modernisation agenda, we have come here to inspect the port internal roads network because we must develop the necessary infrastructure that would support and sustain the increasing cargo volumes at Onne Port and other port locations.”
Also, the managing director said that plans were underway to establish a truck terminal in the area, which would be followed by the introduction of an electronic call-up system for the trucks in the eastern corridor, starting with Onne Port. Meanwhile, at a one day stakeholders’ sensitisation workshop on the patronage of the Esstern ports with the theme: “Framework to stimulate activities and encourage patronage of the Eastern Ports,” organised by the Federal Ministry of Transport in Port Harcourt, he reiterated the Authority’s commitment towards improved maritime activities at the eastern ports corridor through massive renewal and expansion of port infrastructure in the region. Bello-Koko noted that the consultant on the rehabilitation/ reconstruction of the Escravos breakwater, Messrs Royal Haskonin DHV, had gone far with the engineering studies, which would be completed soon. At the Rivers Port, through active collaboration with the BUA Group, he said that equipment had been mobilised for the reconstruction of quay walls and berths by April 2022. Bello-Koko added: “We have also commenced third party towage operations as well as deploy additional pilot cutters and security boats. “For the Calabar Port, we have made allocations in the 2022 budget for the rehabilitation of Mcliver Jetty for passenger use and the construction of radio/signal station at the dockyard in the port, among other projects.”