The Federal Government is to commence the rehabilitation of the Onne Port access corridor to allow for the resusitation of international trade through the seaport, the Minister of Transportation has said.
The Minister who also frowned at collapsed berths at the port reassured stakeholders said that “whatever the challenges are, we will address them.”
“I will discuss with stakeholders and we will come up with short term, medium term and long term plans on how to overcome those challenges and make the ports productive”, he stated.
He also cautioned terminal operators who have refused to collect Practitioners Operating Fees on behalf of the Council For the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria stating that it would no longer be tolerated.
Speaking also, the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello Koko, reiterated that government’s seriousness about increasing traffic at the Eastern Ports so as to decongest the Lagos ports.
To that end, “we are working with the Nigerian Navy to improve security on our waterways and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has deployed assets under the Deep Blue Project that would be working with the Nigerian Navy to improve security along the waterways.”
Meanwhile, the Managing Director of West Africa Container Terminal (WACT) Nigeria, Naved Zafa, told the minister: “As part of our terminal upgrade and expansion project, we have acquired sufficient cargo handling equipment at our terminal to improve the efficiency of the port.”
He disclosed that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has just installed at the port complex a new scanning machine, which was acquired by the Federal Government.
According to him, the scanner will facilitate trade, ensure security and drastically reduce the importation of illicit goods by unscrupulous persons, while reducing vessel dwell time by promoting faster and easier treatment of cargoes.
Other facilities visited included Integrated Logistics Services Terminal, International Container Terminal, Onne Multipurpose Terminal and Brawal.
The Minister who was accompanied by the ministry’s Director, Finance and Accounts, Umaru Hassan, who represented the Permanent Secretary, NPA MD, Koko, and Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation, Fidet Okhiria, among others is on a three day tour of the Eastern ports aimed at unravelling why they are underutilised.