• Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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NPA rolls out plans to attract more business to Eastern Ports

Container haulage by barge has grown to N10bn per annum business – NPA

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) said it is perfecting plans to roll out incentives geared towards attracting more import and export businesses to eastern Ports of Calabar, Rivers, Onne and Warri.

Mohammed Bello-Koko, the newly appointed managing director of the NPA, who disclosed this in Port Harcourt recently, said the NPA management is considering granting new tariff reliefs to shipping companies and terminal operators at some eastern ports, particularly Calabar to make these ports more attractive to shipping lines and cargo owners.

Speaking at a one day stakeholders’ sensitisation workshop on the patronage of the Eastern Ports with the theme, ‘Framework to Stimulate Activities and Encourage Patronage of the Eastern Ports,’ organised by the Federal Ministry of Transportation in Port Harcourt, Bello-Koko said the NPA is committed to improving maritime activities at the eastern ports corridor through massive expansion of port infrastructure in the Eastern region.

At Delta Port, he said that the consultant in charge of the rehabilitation/reconstruction of the Escravos breakwater, known as Messrs Royal Haskonin DHv, has gone far with the engineering studies, which is expected to be completed soon.

According to him, plans have reached an advanced stage to dredge the entrance of the Escravos for safe navigation of vessels in the channel to Delta Port.

“At the Rivers Port, through active collaboration with the BUA Group, equipment has been mobilised for the reconstruction of quay walls and berths by April 2022. We have also commenced third party towage operations and deployed additional pilot cutters and security boats,” Bello-Koko said.

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He further said that the NPA has made allocations in the 2022 budget for the rehabilitation of Mcliver Jetty at Calabar Port for passenger use, and has began the construction of radio/signal station at the dockyard in the port.

“Building a modern and resilient port infrastructure would fast track the country’s economic development, facilitate good paying jobs and enable sustained peace across the country,” he said.

He said that the NPA is working with relevant agencies to reduce clearance time of imports and cost of handling non-oil exports in order to complement the economic diversification agenda of the Federal Government.

He disclosed that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the construction of the first segment of the 1.2 km dual carriage road for the evacuation of cargo from Onne Port.

“It is expected that the next segment will be executed this year as provided in the 2022 budget. 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 NPA,” he explained.

Bello-Koko said that the NPA has noticed that there has also been an upsurge in cargo traffic and an improvement in the traffic at Onne Port.

According to him, there is need to ensure that Lagos traffic congestion does not happen in Onne.

On the parking of trucks indiscriminately on the access road to Onne Port, he explained that plans are 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.

“We trust that the Authority’s renewed efforts aimed at improving shipping and cargo operations in the eastern ports, will enable consignees and shipping lines to develop increased confidence in the use of these ports. We are hopeful that these measures would attract fresh investments into the region and boost the socio-economic well-being of residents in the region,” the NPA boss assured.