By Godwin Oritse
THE Federal Government has approved a new joint venture (JV) partner for the Nigerian Ports Authourity (NPA) to enable the commencement of the dredging of Calabar port channel.
Disclosing this to journalists in Lagos, the Managing Director of NPA; Malam Habib Abdulahi, said that the JV would not start until issues surrounding the previous controversial dredging contract were resolved.
Although the NPA boss did not disclose the name of the firm that was awarded the contract, he however explained that once the deal with the new management company was sealed, it will put a stop to the controversies surrounding the Calabar channel dredging.
Calabar channel dredging has been the most controversial in the history of NPA. The contract has been awarded and re-awarded, yet the channel remains non-navigable and shallow, hence unable to attract big draught ships.
It will be recalled that in 2005, the contracts for the management of four channels in Nigeria namely: Lagos, Bonny, Calabar and Warri were advertised. The bid was conducted internationally by Mobotek, a Holland consulting firm where about 49 international companies applied.
At the end of the pre-qualification exercise involving the technical and financial bid verification with series of bid clarification meetings between NPA, Federal Ministry of Transport, some companies emerged.
These include DEPASSA, leading a consortium of companies for Lagos Channel, Dredging International Services leading a consortium of companies for Bonny Channel, Niger Global Engineering leading a consortium of companies for Calabar Channel and Forby Engineering leading a consortium of companies for Warri Channel.