The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko has said that building a modern and resilient port infrastructure would fast track the country’s economic development, facilitate good paying jobs and enable sustained peace across the country.
Speaking at a meeting with port service providers shortly after a facility assessment tour of the Onne and Rivers Ports recently, Bello-Koko assured them of the Authority’s resolve to improve service quality and delivery at the Eastern ports, so that they can serve as competitive alternatives to the ports in Lagos.
The NPA boss further said that the NPA on behalf of its supervising Ministry is working with relevant agencies towards reducing clearance time of imports and cost of handling of non-oil exports, to compliment the economic diversification agenda of the Federal Government.
He disclosed that the Federal Executive Council , (FEC) has approved the first segment of the dual carriage way for the evacuation of cargo covering a distance of 1.2 km. It is expected that the next segment will be executed this year as provided in the 2022 budget.
“We have made budgetary provisions for the construction of these critical roads. We have also observed that Onne has transformed into a very busy gateway, unfortunately unauthorized persons have began to find their way into the port to vandalize assets belonging to the Authority.
“We all have noticed in recent months the upsurge in cargo traffic at Onne, there has been an improvement in the traffic here and there is need to ensure that what experienced in Lagos does not repeat itself here in terms of traffic congestion and the access roads which must be free of gridlocks.
In line with our infrastructure development and modernisation agenda, we have come here to inspect the port internal roads network because we must develop the necessary infrastructure that would support and sustain the increasing cargo volumes at Onne Port and other port locations, the MD said.
The MD frowned at the level of redundancy at some of the terminals at the port. The Authority, he said, would review approvals issued with respect to the affected terminals in terms of the type of cargo so that they can begin to attract appreciable cargo volumes.
He hinted that management is considering granting new tariff reliefs at some eastern ports, especially Calabar considering the tariff reliefs to shipping companies and terminal operators to make these ports more attractive to shipping lines and cargo owners.
On the parking of trucks indiscriminately on the access road to Onne Port, he explained that plans are underway to establish a truck terminal in the area, which would be followed by the introduction of an electronic call-up system for the trucks in the eastern corridor, starting with Onne Port.