NPA pledges to keep Calabar Port busy
• Ecomarine Berths Vessel With 204 Gas-powered Trucks, Others
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has pledged to fix Calabar Port for the benefit of Nigerians. The Managing Director, NPA, Mohammed Bello Koko, who disclosed this, yesterday, during a tour of Calabar Port, said he will soon sit with the major stakeholders to work out the incentives for operators and the shipping public in a manner that it would trickle down to ordinary Nigerians.
This development is coming as Ecomarine Terminals Limited (ECM) historically berthed a general cargo vessel laden with 204 gas-powered heavy-duty trucks and 22,000 cubic meters of pipes, and some containers, among others.
Koko, who commended Ecomarine team for their ingenuity to drive traffic to Calabar despite the shallow water challenges, said he would work out necessary incentives in few months.
He said: “We need to sit with the liners too to see how to increase the concessionary rate to ensure that this trickles down to Nigerians. You have no reason to send a container to Lagos and pay millions when you know that when you come to Calabar, you will pay less.
“We will do whatever it takes to get Calabar Port to work. We already have a tugboat that is coming here; we wanted it to come together with some marine vessels that we have imported. We have secured approval already from Nigeria Customs.”
We will work with you to make Calabar becomes more viable and more competitive, and that is a commitment from I and my team,” he said.
Managing Director/Chief Operating Officer, ECM, Adedayo Balogun, sought support from NPA to make Calabar port more attractive to shipping lines and importers.
He said the port has faced challenges of draft limitations for several years, which has discouraged some shipping lines from Calabar port.
He said: “The liners are asking for ridiculous concession. For them, it cost more to take their vessel to Calabar than to take it to sister ports because of the challenges of draft. So, what we do is to attract them with a very low tariff. You will be surprised that the tariff we operate was the tariff approved by NPA since 2007”.
Balogun said the NPA should increase the rebate to shipping line to about 30 per cent so as to attract them.
“The 10 per cent rebate is grossly inadequate, the port was giving 30 per cent rebate before the concession, and the challenges that made them introduce the rebate are still there.”
On the berthed vessel, the General Manager, Ecomarine Terminal, Edward Akpan, said that the190 metres long vessel sailed from Singapore.
Akpan stated that the owners of the cargo considered Calabar Port as a preferred terminal based on the support given to them over the years.
“As a terminal operator, we woo our customers by giving them some incentives to berth at Calabar Port. Our customers are satisfied with our mode of operations and I want to appreciate NPA for its continuous support for the terminals,” he said.