•Seeks financing options from France, South Africa, others
•Working on reconstruction of quay aprons
•As importers lament arbitrary increase in port charges
By Godfrey Bivbere
The Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, is seeking partnership with terminal operators for reconstruction of the nation’s old ports in Lagos, Delta, River, and Cross Rivers.
This is even as the Authority is holding discussions with international financial institutions over possibilities of assessing the much-needed funds for the planned projects as a result of the scarcity of funds in the country presently.
The Authority is also consulting with the terminal operators over the possibility of reconstruction of the quay apron at Tin-can Island port.
The Managing Director of the NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko disclosed this when a team from Vanguard Maritime Report paid a courtesy visit to the head office in Lagos.
Bello-Koko stated: “We are engaging the terminal operators, especially the ones here in Lagos to see how the ports can be reconstructed.
It is either the Terminal Operators reconstruct the berth and other physical structures and the contract sum is amortized overtime or we explore the option of accessing funds from multilateral financial institutions.
“We have had discussions with the French Development Bank (AFD), African Development Bank, European Investment Bank (EIB), and Sanlam Infraworks (a CBN approved fund manager for Infracorp) amongst others.
“Tin-can, for instance, has been overtaken by population explosion and needs to be reconstructed. Same thing goes for Rivers port, which is about 100 years old and has actually reached the end of its productive lifecycle.
“It is pertinent to mention that the channels cannot be dredged below their current draft because of restrictions imposed by the initial engineering design of the berths.
“There are restrictions when it comes to the initial engineering works of the berths, they cannot dredge them lower than where they are now. We have explained, yes we have problems with the infrastructure but this is what we are doing.
“We are also grappling with cases of vandalisation, for instance in Rivers port, where suspected vandals resident in the host community deploys welding equipment to cut the beams supporting the quay aprons. The marine police have been doing a good job by trying to put a stop to these nefarious activities usually perpetrated at odd hours,” he noted.