By Ebuka Oko, Abigail Ezenwafor, Kemi Abioye and Sharon Obiakor
The Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA, has said that the ongoing dredging of the Warri port channel will be completed in two months.
Making this known in Lagos at a colloquium organized in the honour of Prince Olayiwola Shittu, the former National President of the Association of Licensed Customs Clearing Agents, ANLCA, to mark his 68th Birthday. Managing Director of NPA, Miss Hadiza Bala Usman, said the completion of the dredging work is of importance to the Authority.
The NPA boss noted that the completion of the dredging of the port channel will open it up for business, even as she called on operators to consider the use of Flat Bottom Vessels, FBV for their shipping businesses in Warri and other eastern ports.
She said that one of the critical areas NPA is working on is the dredging of Warri port to seven metres which will reduce the congestion we are facing in Lagos port and also threw light on making provisions for cargos especially petroleum products coming through the Delta port location.
According to her, “We have also gotten the approval for the dredging of Warri port to seven meters and that is going to be completed within the next two month and this will go a long way in reducing the congestion we are having in Lagos port and also providing access for cargos particularly petroleum products coming into the country through the Delta port location.”
On the Calabar port, she noted that estimation for the dredging of the channel has been put at N50 million but has yet to be finalised.
In her words, “We have noted that the Calabar port is also currently ongoing, procurement process we have an estimated cost of N50 million for the dredging of Calabar port so we are looking to see the outcome of the revenue generation for the investment of Nigeria port to dredge Calabar port”.
Concerning vessels, she said NPA is striving towards the implementation of vessels that would be used for transportation purposes which will ease the movement of cargoes without traffic related issues. She further said that two of the vessels which were passed in Calabar port is now an history and implored the shipping companies and importers to make use of the FBVs and transport vessels as it will help Nigeria in having vessels coming with lesser investment in dredging.
“We are also exploring the utilization of transporting vessels these are vessels that can navigate and come into the water without traffic. We have successful passed two of these vessels in Calabar port which was historic, we are encouraging shipping companies to utilize these FBVs as that will assist the Nigeria port in having vessels coming that do not require a lot of investment in dredging so as we seek to know the numbers to justified the N50 million naira budget required to get Calabar port navigable we are also encouraging for importers to utilize the transport vessel to bring in cargo,“ she concluded.