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NPA privatises Warri Port

As part of measures to make the eastern ports attractive for business, NPA and the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) recently handed over Terminal B…

As part of measures to make the eastern ports attractive for business, NPA and the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) recently handed over Terminal B of the Warri Old Port to private concessionaire, Ocean & Cargo Terminal Services Limited.

BPE Director-General Mr. Alex Okoh, who spoke at the handover ceremony, said President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was committed to a private sector-driven economy.

He also called on local and international businessmen to take advantage of the government’s open door policy to establish businesses in the country.

Okoh said the Nigerian ports are the main gateway to the country and key to the Federal Government’s objective of diversifying and growing the economy.

He pointed out that the objective of the government in port concession was to increase efficiency at the ports with the ultimate goal to modernise the ports and make them more competitive.

The BPE boss said: “The objective is to increase efficiency in our ports, improve service delivery, upgrade and modernise facilities in the ports, reduce the cost of shipping and clearing of goods at the ports and relieve the government of the burden of financing the sector.”
According to him, the concession is for a period of 25 years at an annual lease fee of $1,621,500, ($1.6m) in addition to the entry fee and monthly throughput fee chargeable on the volume of cargo handled.
Okoh assured that the implementation of the development plan for the concessionaire would be closely monitored by the relevant government agencies, including the NPA, the BPE and Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission to ensure compliance.

To ensure that traffic to the Eastern Ports continues to increase, the management of NPA beamed it’s searchlight on insecurity which had led to inflated cost of importing goods through the eastern ports.

An importer, Mr. Robert Francis said that shipment of cargoes from China to Lagos, which used to cost about $1,500, now costs between $4,000 and $4,500 because of insecurity and high salinity of the sea. He therefore, urged youths in the area to give peace a chance to make the ports attractive and competitive.

“In addition, vessels calling at Onne Port in Rivers State also slammed $45,000 (N16.2m) on importers for an average of six hours per night for delay to berth. The delay, which is estimated at $7,500 per hour, is said to be caused by incessant robbery and shallow port channels,” he said.

Worried by the problems, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi had at a stakeholders’ interactive session in Warri last year, explained that one of the factors militating against the success of the maritime sector was insecurity in the Niger Delta region, which he said was also hampering the growth and development of the region.
He said Niger Delta was not working because of the people in the area. His words: “How many Lagosians are on the water in Lagos? None. The reason vessels will not come to the eastern ports is because there is no war insurance on vessels because of restiveness in the region.
“War insurance means if the goods cost N10,000 in Lagos, it will get it N20,000 here because there is extra cost on it. There is insecurity in Lagos, but not as bad as it is in the eastern ports,” the minister said.

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