…delay in dredging of channel caused by litigation…MD ,NPA
…talks on out of court settlement with NPA, Fed Ministry of Transportation, Justice , contractor in top gear
By Ike Uchechukwu, CALABAR
The Nigerian Ports Authority , NPA has revealed that the Calabar Port within five months( January to May ) generated about 645 million naira while they also received 72 vessels amidst various challenges facing the facility including limitation of draft channels amongst others.
Vanguard gathered that Calabar port which is currently operated by three world class terminal operators namely : ECM Terminals Ltd, INTELS Nigeria Ltd and Shoreline Logistics Nigeria limited has a berth occupancy of 15%.
The Port Manager , Mr. Festus Olumati made the revelation on Saturday during the official visit of the Managing Director , Nigerian Ports Authority NPA, Mohammed Bello-koko and Executive Management Team to Calabar port.
Olumati said :” Since I assume office as port Manager of Calabar port, my management team and I have conscientiously worked with a dedicated target of delivering on our mandate .
“These concerted efforts have yielded modest positive impacts on our overall operations and finances in particular. Within the period under review( January to May 2022) Ship traffic into Calabar port recorded high returns, number of vessels received stood at 72 , GRT : 1,611,441 , Cargo Throughput : 990, 154
“Others include container TEUS was 16 ,Turn around Time was 4days per ship while berth occupancy stood at 15% ,” he said .
Speaking further , Olumati said that these improvements in their modest efforts had a corresponding increases in the Port’s revenue intakes From January to May 2022, our revenue increased.
“Revenue generated in dollars include $6, 598,085.42 while actual revenue collected in dollars was $5,786, 634,51 million , revenue in Naira generated stood at #645, 747 ,194 06 while revenue in Naira collected was #309,286, 187, 12 .
“Other modest achievements recorded within the period under review include procurement of ISPS standard security fencing for the port complex , construction of mini safety station , facilitated the delivery of pilot cutter ( PC BADARIYA) to calabar port , received ISO 9001-2915 certification amongst others.
“In spite of huge improvements , Calabar port is still faced with some growing challenges which are impeding Calabar port from attaining her full capacity as one of the fastest growing ports in Nigeria .
“These challenges include low depth of the Calabar Port water channel requiring full dredging , Collapsed Berth at the Shoreline Jetty , abandonment of Delta Queen Rig since 2012 , siltation and reduced draught at ECM Terminal waterfront ,defaced surfaces and duplicated facilities with the Port Administration building and many others.
Responding , the Managing Director, NPA, Mohammed Bello-koko explained that indeed the dredging was awarded but litigation between the contractor and NPA had inhibited the process.
Bello-koko said that the Ministry of Transportation and Justice have waded into the matter and there would be head way soon , as it was part of the reasons why he also came in this official visit to the Calabar port.
“As you are aware the contract was awarded so many years ago and there has been litigation between the contractor and NPA which has inhibited our ability to dredge the calabar Channel.
“What we have done in recent times is to look for ways to settle the matter out of court ,so NPA working with Federal Ministry of Transportation and Justice has resumed discussion interns of how to settle this out of court .
“This determine if we will return thesame contractor to continue dredging or appoint a new Channel management company to do the dredging of the channel.
“This has been the reason behind the delays of the dredging of that channel and that is why we came here to meet with stakeholders to reassure them that government is taking all the necessary steps in taking care of all that, as quickily as possible,” he said.
Speaking further , the Managing Director of NPA said efforts were in top gear as discussions with major with major importers , consignees as well as shipping company have gone far all in a bid to encourage them to use the calabar port.
“We are not oblivious of the draft limitations of the channel , but we are also aware that there are businesses that can come here rather been taken to Lagos.
Don’t forget that Calabar port is strategically located to be the closest port to the North East and Some parts of North Central states and we have been having regular interaction with importers , we will also be discussing with Shipping companies as well as consignees themselves and we will locate major importers into the country and also encourage them to use Calabar ports.
“We will also reach out to exporters to use calabar ports , a perfect example was the vessel you saw on Thursday , it didn’t just happen from nowhere , it was due to the efforts of the ports Management , we will continue those efforts to ensure that the ports become more busy, effective and more viable as the days go by .
“The ISO 9001-2015 certification for Calabar port is proof that the port is operating within the guidelines of best international practices and it is not a small achievement
” We are very happy about this development and we want the whole world to know because it took a lot , so you can be rest assured that we have the best as you have in other developed parts of the world , we have same in Calabar port, in terms of well trained harbour personnel , other professionals , equipment ,state of the arts facilities and tools, we have all that here in calabar ports abd we have been officially certified,” he said.