Expert tasks FG on dredging of Calabar port
Acting General Manager of Eco Marine (ECM), Edward Akpan, has charged the Federal Government to make the Calabar Port in Cross River State more functional.
He gave the charge during the bulk export of 7000 metric tons of cocoa by Starlink Global and Ideal Limited at ECM terminals in the Calabar Port.
Akpan stressed that dredging was the most critical challenge of the Calabar Port, as it was shallow with a depth of 5.2 metres at low tide, adding that it was stated in article 9, section 9.6 of the agreement with the Federal Government that dredging must be done to at least 9.4 metres.
“There is also the challenge of the access road to the Calabar Port and lack of incentives to shippers of all cargo types to the Port, which was hindering the port from attaining its full potential,” he said.
Managing Director of Starlink Global and Ideal Limited, Adeniji Adeyemi, said Calabar was viable, but a lot needed to be put in place to make it more functional.
“Before now the cocoa from Cross River used to be of poor quality due to poor post-harvest handling. So, we came here and taught the farmers how to clean, remove clusters and gave them machines to dry the cocoa beans, thereby improving them to meet international standards,” he said.
Also, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), Abubakar Bello, disclosed that the challenges at the Apapa Port in Lagos were a blessing for other regions.
He said the challenge in Apapa has had severe economic implications and part of the solution was for the nation to have alternative terminals or ports to facilitate imports and exports.
Speaking, Executive Director, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Segun Awolowo lamented that Nigerian exporters had suffered avoidable delays in export shipments due to the gridlock at the Lagos Port.
On his part, Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, urged shippers and port users in the Northern and Eastern flanks to follow Starlink Global and Ideal Limited’s example by bringing their cargoes to Calabar and other Eastern ports as this would help to ease the pressure on Lagos ports.