Stakeholders were on Thursday optimistic that the concession of Terminal `B’, Warri Old Port, would not only reinvigorate the maritime sector but would also boost cargo operations in the Southeast.
The Federal Government on Tuesday, concessioned the Terminal `B’ of Warri Old Port to SIFAX Group-led Consortium, Ocean and Cargo Terminal Services Ltd.
Ocean and Cargo Terminal Services Ltd. was declared the preferred bidder to operate the terminal for a period of 25 years.
Following the development, stakeholders, in separate interviews with Newsmen said that the upgrade and activation of the Warri Old port was long expected, saying that effective operation of the port would complement the Lagos ports.
Mr Abudu Eroje, Deputy Secretary-General, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) commended the concession of the Warri Port.
He said that when fully operational, the port would ease the persistent gridlock on roads leading to the Lagos ports.
Eroje commended the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for redesigning the port and urged the new concessionaire to work on facility development and constant maintenance.
According to him, most of the problems port users are facing at the Lagos ports are traceable to lack of maintenance culture.
“I am impressed with the feat so far achieved by NPA; South East-bound cargoes can be routed to the Warri Port.
“This in effect will reduce the cost of doing business in our ports and will have positive effects on the prices of goods,’’ he said.
Mr Abilo Ochuko, Lagos Zonal Chairman of the Nigerian Licensed Ship Chandlers Association, said that the concession of the Terminal `B’ of Warri Old Port would create more job opportunities for unemployed youths in the Southeast.
“The ease of doing business which government has been talking about for some time is now coming to reality.
“Shippers can now make informed choice between Lagos Port and Warri Port because business is about choice,’’ he said.
Ochuko, however, advised the Federal Government to provide adequate security cover in the area to attract cargoes to the port.
According to him, shippers will not want to patronise the port if in doubt of effective security coverage.
The Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) has so far concessioned 23 seaport terminals since the commencement of the port concession programme in 2006.