BY GODFREY BIVBERE & IFEYINWA OBI, in Houston, Texas
The Port Manager of Calabar Port, Musa Wada, has disclosed that despite the low draft of the channel leading to the port, an arrangement is ongoing with one of the terminal operators to bring containerised flat bottom vessels to the facility to increase its cargo throughput.
Disclosing to Vanguard in Houston, Texas, Wada explained that the arrangement is part of efforts of the central management to increase and expand the capacity of the port which presently handles 90 percent wet cargo.
The Port Manager, who said that they are working on some form of concession of the terminal operation to make the deal attractive, noted that the first of such ship is expected to berth at the Calabar port before the end of the year.
According to him, “Right now as I am talking to you, there are specialised vessels that containerised vessels which we are trying to introducing into the port which can manger the present channel.
“We have not concluded but very soon it will take off.”
On how soon it is expected to take off, Wada said “Well it depends on when the application for waivers for them is granted. We are looking for waivers for them and if that is approved by the management that it will take off.
“You see when you are wooing people to come and invest you must give them waivers to encourage them because of our limited draft. We are working on that but hopefully in a few weeks from now when we get the approval from the central management, it will take off.
“It is a joint business with an operator in the port that ECM terminals, who are one of our major operators. They are promoting it and they are one of our biggest customers.”
He noted that being basically a wet cargo port, he will continue to sell the port for more investors to come to the facility.
Continuing, he explained that the worry in the past has been the low draft but explained happiness that they have been able to get around it with the use of low bottom tanker vessels.
He gave the dept of the draft presently as being between 6.5 and 6.9 meters. He said while the draft by the berth is about 6.9 meters that of the channel is about 6.5 meters.
He assured all interested investor in the port that the present management has made all the process under its authority for investment at the port very simple.