Stakeholders bemoan prolonged neglect of Warri port

Stakeholders in the maritime sector have urged the Federal Government to proffer lasting solution to the moribund Warri port in Delta State.

While speaking with newsmen in Warri yesterday, the stakeholders lamented that the prolonged inactivity of the port was counter-productive to the nation’s economy.

They said that underdevelopment had consequently affected their financial viability.

A Warri-based importer, Austin Egbegbadia identified dredging as a major constraint in the port.

Egbegbadia, who is also the President of Delta Shippers Association, decried the lacklustre attitude of the government towards addressing the challenges in the port.

He said the inactivity of the port costs shippers additional costs to move their imported consignment from Lagos to Warri. He attributed the lingering problem in the ports to maladministration and wrong government policies.

“Several times, we hear the Federal Government wanted to dredge the Escravos channels. At a point government brought a dilapidated dredger and it was at the port for about a year without dredging a single sand, so who is fooling whom?

“Delta port used to be the hub of economic activities before the discovery of oil; today the port is idle. I think government needs to be sincere with the diversification policy.

“If we must fully diversify our economy, the Delta port must be revived because it has the capacity to provide over 100,000 direct employment and additional one million indirect jobs,” he said.

President, Delta Association of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Simon Asite on his part said, “Until the government dredges the channel and provides adequate security to guarantee the safety of vessels, the Warri port will not be patronised.”

Asite advised government to assure the international community that Warri port was safe for business transactions.

He also stressed the need to divert some of the ships berthing in Lagos and other ports in the country to the Warri port.

“The Warri port is strategically located; it is nearest to the hinterland with good road network to any part of the country,” he said.

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