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How new Roads, Marine Craft Will Impact Cargo Dwell Time at Eastern Port 

Port users at the Eastern Ports will now heave a sigh of relief following the construction of a 4.8 km road to the Onne Port…

Port users at the Eastern Ports will now heave a sigh of relief following the construction of a 4.8 km road to the Onne Port in River State.

Expectedly, the road will not only improve the turnaround time but will boost imports.

Importers who witnessed the commissioning of the road hailed the effort of the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, saying that this is the first time they are experiencing the federal government’s presence.

Nude Ejiofor, a clearing agent in Onne said accessing the port access roads to the port will now be seamless.

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According to him, it will enhance their operations and add to their take home at the end of the day.

“Recent prioritization of roads to Onne Port by the government will help to position the Eastern Port. Enhanced maritime connectivity will generate considerable economic benefits for the nation and will improve the flow of goods around the region.

“The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy is pushing to leverage the nation’s resources to further strengthen connectivity, with a key emphasis on enhancing port infrastructure,” he said.

Other port users who also spoke during the commissioning said the increasing patronage of the Eastern ports has largely been fueled by a recent surge in exports.

Kayode Thomas, a Clearing Agent in Rivers State is of the opinion that with roughly 80 percent of global trade moving by sea, tapping into maritime shipping networks has been central to the nation’s strategy of export-led economic development.

He said to facilitate the flow of goods in and out of the country, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has adapted models of some of the world’s largest and busiest ports.

Commissioning the 4.8km road on Tuesday, the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, said that the construction of a 4.8km road in Onne, Rivers State and the acquisition of Marine craft will enhance port operations and also impact positively on cargo dwell time at the Eastern port.

The Minister said the construction of the road and the acquisition of the marine craft underscores the determination of the ministry to provide the facilitation and advocacy required to grow the vessel traffic to the Eastern ports.

Speaking at the commissioning of 4.8km road and Marine craft at Onne Port, Rivers State, the minister disclosed that deepening efficiencies and full capacity utilization of the Eastern ports constitutes one of the tools deployed to achieve the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) assigned to the ministry under the Presidential Performance Bond.

The Eastern ports consist of ports in Onne, Rivers Warri in Delta and Calabar in Cross River State respectively.

The minister who expressed happiness that the Onne and Calabar Port Complexes have met the requirements of the International Organization for Standardization and are ISO certified said the newly commissioned mooring boats would further enhance the security and safety at the Eastern port.

According to him, providing an enabling environment for investors to patronise the Eastern ports is the top priority of the Marine and Blue Economy Ministry.

“This road infrastructure constructed by the Nigerian Ports Authority and the mooring boats we are gathered here to commission, is another testament to the commitment of the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy under my watch to maximize the entire gamut of opportunities conferred on us by our maritime endowments in line with the directives of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

“The Mooring Boats are used to safely berth and unberth vessels calling at various pilotage districts. These six Mooring Boats are our own way of further enhancing the security and safety of our maritime space.

Deepening the efficiencies and full capacity utilization of the strategic advantages of Onne and other Port Complexes in the eastern axis constitutes one of the tools we are deploying in actualizing the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) assigned to us under the Presidential Performance Bond. We are now poised more than ever before to give the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) all the backing necessary to address all factors responsible for the underutilization of these national assets,” Oyetola stated.

“Providing the enabling atmosphere and deepening investor confidence to patronize the Eastern Ports of Onne, Rivers, Warri and Calabar is top on the Ministry’s agenda,” he stated.

Oyetola continued, “This is why I was delighted to learn that Onne and Calabar Port Complexes have met the requirements of the International Organization for Standardization and are thus ISO certified. This shows we are doing something right, but we cannot rest on our oars until all other Ports are certified.”

The minister, however, assured stakeholders that he would continue to grant approval for initiatives that would further enhance performance of the seaports.

“I have been briefed on the growth in numbers especially for exports emanating from Onne Port Complex, and I am impressed and poised to provide the facilitation and advocacy required to grow the vessel traffic to this important nucleus of growth.

“Although issues concerning the potentials of Onne have always dominated my correspondences with the NPA, I must say that this visit further convinces me that so much more can be achieved if we invest more in our Port infrastructure such as we are doing with the over $1Billion worth of reconstruction/rehabilitation investment in our Ports including Onne which is at its conclusive stage.

“I want to seize this occasion to commend the Management of NPA for the prudent application of resources that financed this project and to reiterate my earlier commitment to grant prompt approvals to initiatives that enable continuous improvement in the performance of our Ports,” he ended.

Speaking earlier, the managing director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko, stated that the commissioning of the newly constructed road and deployment of the marine craft will positively impact cargo dwell time and win back huge revenues hitherto lost to terminal operators’ inability to meet their performance targets on account of inaccessibility to their lease areas due to bad road.

According to the NPA boss, the vast expanse of reclaimed land already leased for port development is actually a link to growth in new business opportunities and increased revenue for the national economy.

“The Phase 4B houses a significant portion of the untapped potentials of the Onne Port Complex, thus the completion of the Road “D” which the major arterial link to the new Berths 9, 10, 11 & 12 at Federal Ocean Terminal (FOT) and vast expanse of reclaimed land already leased for port development is actually a link to growth in new business opportunities and increased revenue for the national economy.

“This road which stretches over a total of 4.8 Kilometres, covering two container terminals and caters to almost 1,000 trucks daily is indicative of the Authority’s positioning for the growth, competitiveness and future-readiness. By promoting the ease and speed of doing business in the port, this infrastructure deployment will positively impact cargo dwell time and win back huge revenues hitherto lost to terminal operators’ inability to meet their performance targets on account of inaccessibility to their lease areas due to bad road,” he stated.

Bello-Koko also demanded the minister’s support for the concrete fencing of a stretch of land at the Onne port to guard against unauthorized access.

“In addition to the 250mm Thick Reinforced Concrete Road we are here to commission, the scope of this project provides for Median and Side Drain with High Mast Tower Lighting of the dual carriageway port access road of the Federal Ocean Terminal (FOT) Onne.

Cognizant of the fact that good road infrastructure requires a complement of sound marine craft and equipment, the Authority in addition to the Security Patrol Boats Commissioned by the Honorable Minister last month, procured six modern Mooring Boats to enhance the efficiency of our harbour operations.

“Mooring Boats enhance safety by assisting the berthing and un-berthing processes, enabling emergency response, vessel security and generally mitigating hazards associated with harbor operations. To enhance the security of the investments that will begin to sprout with the opening of this road, the Honourable Minister’s support is also required for the concrete fencing of the stretch of land to guard against unauthorized access,” he stated.

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