BusinessDay

NPA plans fresh tariff relief to attract patronage to Calabar Port

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has promised to give tariff relief to importers and shipping lines to attract more patronage to Calabar Port.

Speaking at the weekend during a visit to the palace of the Obong of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V while on a maiden visit to the Calabar Port, Cross River State, Mohammed Bello-Koko, the managing director of NPA, said importers patronising other neighboring ports due to the challenges faced by Calabar Port must be brought back.

Bello-Koko said Calabar Port has come back to life as a vessel berthed at Ecomarine Terminal and discharged over 200 trucks and equipment.

According to him, NPA has concluded plans to bring in pilot cutters, tug boats, and other marine equipment that were hitherto absent at the port.

“The more cargoes we have in Calabar, Delta, and Warri Ports, the less congestion in other ports and more economic activities. We know one of the problems of Calabar Port is dredging, which has created draft limitations. The essence is to ensure we dredge the channel because it has become a hindrance to economic activities. We will prioritise the rehabilitation of Eastern port,” he said.

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Bello-Koko also told the terminal operators to market the terminals by going to importers to encourage them to use the port rather than go to Cameroon.

The NPA boss, however, appealed to the Obong to prevail on his subjects especially those in the riverine areas to stop vandalising navigational aids, which people remove from the water and used as scrap metals, thereby putting vessels at risk.

Responding, the Obong said the waterways had been their highway and expressway and that their forefathers had been taking care of it.

“Unfortunately, activities were killed at the Port and everything died in Calabar. We have been crying for some time and we believe that the game-changer as you are called will make the change for us. I appeal that this should not be political but critical. Do something, take the other way round to ensure that things work well for us,” he said.

Adedayo Balogun, the managing director/CEO of ECM, a terminal operator, sought support from NPA to make Calabar port more attractive to shipping lines and importers.

He said the liners are asking for a ridiculous concession because it cost more to take their vessel to Calabar than to take it to sister ports because of the draft challenges that is why the terminal charge a very low tariff approved by NPA since 2007.

Balogun urged NPA to increase the rebate to the shipping line to about 30 percent from 10 percent, which has proven inadequate.

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