The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) said it has started resolving issues of dredging contracts with the Calabar Channel Management Company with aim of recommencing the controversial dredging of the Calabar Port, which the organization will work to position for trade in the Gulf of Guinea.
The managing director of NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman told journalists after a stakeholders’ forum in Lagos recently that it is a priority for her management to ensure speedy access to utilization of the Calabar Port.
Billions of naira has been sunk into the dredging of Calabar Port, now being handled by the Calabar Channel Management Company, a daughter of firm of the NPA born out of a joint venture.
The contract has been riddled by allegations of unwillingness of the mother company to release funds amidst litigations that have brought the contract to its knees.
But Usman said, considering the important location of the port in the Gulf of Guinea, her management has begun resolution of the issues deterring the dredging contract and is looking at expanding the the trade route within the Gulf of Guinea to make the Calabar Port fully utilized.
She said, “During my visit to Calabar Port, I had explained that one of one of the problems with the port is poor depth of the draught which we are already attending to by resolving the issue with the Calabar Channel Management Company and the dredging will proceed and we will have increased depth.
“That will be the priority consideration with access to utilization of the Calabar Port. But we will also looking to trade route within the Gulf of Guinea is expanded upon that will make the port of Calabar to be fully utilised.”
NPA’s first female boss also said the organization is coming up innovations to expand on its modes of traffic, prioritizing in the areas of agricultural produce and solid minerals for export.
“We are diversifying on our various modes of traffic. We are looking to prioritise the export of agric produce in our respective terminals and we would work on also the soild minerals prioritizing that in our terminals. We believe that there’s a need for NPA to look towards attracting more customers and clientele to the port,” she said.
She also disclosed that her organization have begun discussions with the Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to improve on security in the port and the channels, adding that the NPA is procuring more patrol boats for the purpose.
“We have discussed that (security) with the Nigerian Navy and we are working with the NIMASA to ensure that we address those issues internally. NPA is procuring additional patrol boats to provide security within our waters and this will be included in our 2017 budget. We have some procurements of patrol boats within 2016 and we are ensuring that these platforms are procured,” she added.
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