.’Development of Deep Seaport in S/East key to Nigeria.
The Minister Transportation, Muazu Sambo has promised that the federal government will address issues of infrastructural decay affecting trade facilitation at Onne Seaport.
Sambo who stated this during a tour of the Eastern ports with Onne as the first port of call, said the reason for the facility tour was to find out the challenges for the federal government action.
This is just as the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello Koko, has expressed optimism that the approval for the development of a deep seaport in Bonny will be achieved before the end of the life of the present administration.
Bello Koko who disclosed that there is a proposal for the construction of the deep seaport said some preliminary processes have started for the establishment of the port.
He added that the initial location of the deep seaport had to be changed as a result of existing pipelines.
Bello Koko who accompanied Sambo on the tour said the new location has been identified with a natural draught of 17 meters.
He said the next thing was for the Minister to look at it and determine the next option.
He described the development of deep seaport in Eastern port as very key to the country.
He said, “we hope the Minister will get approval for Bonny Deep seaport. It means the country has deep seaports in different locations of the country. I am sure that in the life of administration, the Minister will get the approval of the Bonny Deep seaport.”
Meanwhile, Sambo added that he visited Onne first to assess the true situation on the ground and know where to take action that can ease trade facilitation.
He said, “Part of the reasons why I am here is to see why the ports here are not being patronized. It is an issue that has been on the table for a long time. Whatever the challenges here, we are going to address them squarely. Part of the visit is to hold a meeting with stakeholders to find out from them directly what the burning issues are, then we can draw up short term medium term goals.”
At Intels terminals, the Minister was informed of three berths, which have collapsed for long now.
He ordered that the NPA should address the issue as the authority has already planned rehabilitation of dilapidated infrastructures.
The Deputy Managing Director of Brawal, Mr Charles Etobo complained that his company was suffering shortage of berths, adding that this has made the terminal operator lose one of its clients to another terminal.
Speaking further, Bello Koko said a lot of issues affecting patronage of Eastern ports are being addressed.
Meanwhile, The minister of Transportation, Engr Mu’azu Sambo, commended the management of the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), over the tremendous support provided to Lekki Port in meeting the project timelines.
Sambo while speaking during his first official visit to the Lekki Deep Seaport, the minister expressed delight at the pace and quality of work at the port site.
Recall that the Lekki Deep Seaport places Nigeria on the global list of nations with Deep Seaports and positions the country to maximize the comparative advantages that its maritime endowments and littoral assets confer.
The seaport also has super Post-Panamax state-of-the-art Ship to Shore (STS) Cranes; 10 Rubber Tyred Gantries (RTGs) and the delivery of the second batch shipment critical to the commencement of operations comprising of two STS Cranes with 115 packages of accessories and five RTGs with 270 packages of accessories.
However, ahead of the deep seaport completion and commencement of operations before the end of the year 2022, the minister tasked Nigerian Railway Corporation, NPA and Lekki Port to take urgent steps towards ensuring the Deep Seaport is linked by rail.
In his remarks, the managing director, NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko, said the Deep seaport is close to becoming operational.
He said, “the very fact the letter of intent between Lekki Deep Seaport and it’s financial partners was signed in April 2019 and by 2022 we are close to operationalization; this project symbolizes the possibilities that tenacity of purpose can actualize”.
He added that NPA remains unwavering in providing every support and facilitation necessary to ensure that the timelines for take off are met.
The Managing Director Lekki Deep Seaport, Du Ruogang, while making a presentation to the Minister and his entourage disclosed that the construction works for phase 1 is nearing completion and is currently at about 96% completion.
“The Lekki Port team together with the Lekki Freeport Terminal (LFT) are working hard to ensure that construction is completed in September 2022 and thereafter port operations will start before the end of this year 2022.”
Highlighting the game-changing features, Ruogang stated further, “the port upon completion will have three container berths, three liquid berths and a storage yard with over 15,000 ground slots terminal designed to support a throughput of 2.7 million TEUs annually, a Dry Bulk Terminal with available quay length of about 300m amongst other distinctive attributes.”