FG moves to reposition Onne Port for increased trade at Eastern zone
To Sanction Fraudulent Terminal Operators
The Federal Government has taken steps to reposition the Onne Port in Rivers State to maximise its huge potential in export and import as well as increase traffic at the eastern ports to decongest the Lagos ports.
During his three-day fact-finding tour to ascertain why the port was not performing optimally the Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo, disclosed the government’s commitment to fostering economic growth and prosperity for Nigerians.
“Part of the reason I am here is to look into why the Rivers ports are not working. Whatever the challenges are, we will address them. I will discuss with stakeholders and we will come up with the short-term, medium-term and long-term plans on how to overcome those challenges and make the ports productive,” Sambo said.
On the dilapidated access road to the Onne Port, the minister assured that Sukuk IV would take care of that, adding that he would liaise with the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, to see how it could be fast-tracked.
Sambo, however, frowned on the attitude of terminal operators, who defraud the Federal Government by not complying with payment of the Practitioner’s Operating Fees (POF), warning that it would no longer be tolerated.
The Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko, said the government is very serious about the need to increase traffic at the eastern ports, to decongest the Lagos ports.
He also said the agency is working with the Navy to improve security on the nation’s waterways, adding that the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has deployed assets under the Deep Blue Project that would be working with the Navy to improve security along the waterways
At the West Africa Container Terminal (WACT) Nigeria, the Managing Director, Naved Zafa, said: “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.”
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), he noted, has just installed a new scanning machine at the port complex, which would facilitate trade, ensure security and drastically reduce the importation of illicit goods by unscrupulous persons.
Other facilities visitedare Integrated Logistics Services Terminal, International Container Terminal, Onne Multipurpose Terminal and Brawal.