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ICNL affirms commitment to run Onitsha port efficiently

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Onitsha River Port. PHOTO: NIWA

The Managing Director, Inland Container Nigeria Limited (ICNL), Ismail Yusuf, has given assurance that the company is a hundred per cent ready and capable to operate Onitsha River Port efficiently for the maximum benefit of the economy.

Yusuf, who said this in Lagos, noted that ICNL is capable of using alternative means to move cargoes from Lagos and Onne Ports pending when the Onitsha River Port will be dredged and ready to receive vessels.

“We are already on the ground and know how to do this business. We can operate from anywhere in Nigeria. It is either we move containers from Onne or Lagos ports to the same place, pending the time the River Port will be ready for operation.

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“We can start doing that by moving containers on bond and then when the port is well dredged, ships can come in; then transform to a bigger port where ships can come and discharge.

According to him, the company, as the reserve bidder for the concession of the port facility, is awaiting the final decision of the Federal Government on its bidding for the Onitsha River Port before deciding to either proceed with its planned investment in a terminal facility in Oba, Anambra State or forgo one for the other.

He said: “You must be very cautious of your investment. As far as we are ready to have our business in the East and we have bided for the Onitsha River Port. We are the reserve bidder, and we are waiting for the government to make their decision, as it is now long overdue.

“We are one hundred percent capable. If we are actually bidding for Onitsha and we still have plans to be in Oba, it is very wise for us to come to the end of the bid we made in Onitsha, before we think about what to invest in Oba.

“If the initial winner of the bid does not meet up with other requirements to enable it to start operation, then it should be given to the reserve bidder and we will come up with our financial plan.”

On the electronic call-up system introduced by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Yusuf described it as commendable and should be encouraged.

He urged the government to increase its monitoring of the system to prevent abuses that could cause it to derail and revert the port access roads to its previous poor traffic situation.

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