The Minister of Transportation, Engr Mu’azu Sambo said the Federal Government is ready to reposition the Onne Port in Rivers State.
According to Vanguard, Sambo made this disclosure yesterday during the 3-day fact-finding tour to ascertain why the port is not performing at maximum capacity.
The Minister said “Part of the reason why I’m here is to look into why the Rivers Ports are not working. Whatever the challenges are, we will address them.
“I will discuss with stakeholders and we will come up with short-term, medium-term and long-term plans on how to overcome those challenges and make the ports productive”.
Sambo also assured stakeholders of its effort to fix the dilapidated access road to the Onne Port adding that Sukuk IV will take care of that.
He explained that the would liaise with his counterpart, the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing to see how the rehabilitation can be fast-tracked.
The Minister, however, frowned on Terminal Operators who defraud the Federal Government by not complying with payment of the Practitioners Operating Fees, warning that it will no longer be tolerated.
Also speaking at the occasion, the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, Mohammed Bello- Koko said the government is very serious about the need to increase traffic at the Eastern Ports, so as to decongest the Lagos ports.
On the issue of security, Bello-Koko said: “We are working with the Nigerian Navy to improve security on our Waterways and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has deployed assets under the Deep Blue Project that would be working with the Nigerian Navy to improve security along the waterways
At the West Africa Container Terminal Nigeria, the Managing Director, Naved Zafa, while briefing the Minister on their facility, said: ” as part of our Terminal upgrade and expansion project, we have acquired sufficient cargo handling equipment at our terminal to improve the efficiency of the port”.
He further reiterated that the Nigeria Customs Service has just installed a new scanning machine at the port complex, which was acquired by the Federal Government and inaugurated by the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd).
According to him, the scanner would facilitate trade, ensure security and drastically reduce the importation of illicit goods by unscrupulous persons, adding that it would reduce dwell time by promoting the faster and easier treatment of cargoes.