By Tunde Osho
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has opened discussions with the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) on the dualisation of Bonny Channel.
The development followed series of complaints from shipping firms alleging restrictions, delays due to movement of NLNG Vessels.
Addressing stakeholders in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, the Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala-Usman explained that ongoing discussions with NLNG is expected to roll out modalities for the proposed dualisation, funding, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Erosion Control, among others.
According to City BusinessNews a similar meeting was held at Onne Port Complex on Thursday last week.
Represented by the Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Mohammed Bello-Koko, Bala-Usman informed the gathering that all relevant stakeholders including government agencies will be carried along before final decisions are arrived at.
According to the shipping firms, apart from unnecessary loss of man hour, NLNG restrictions expose Vessels to dangers of attack from criminal elements along the axis.
The stakeholder meeting was also an opportunity for the Port Manager, Rivers Port Complex, Alhaji Abubarkar Umar to canvass further expansion.
He said: “The likelihood of Port expansion for increase in productivity cannot be overemphasized. The Rivers Port Complex has the potential to serve as the hub centre of transshipment’.
He explained that other undeveloped areas that surround the Bonny River reclamation zone are suitable as “investors’ haven for cargo consolidation”.
According to him, the Brass LNG situated within the Port’s jurisdiction is investor friendly, pointing out that it meet global requirement of liquefied natural gas”.
He added:“In furtherance to the Federal Government Policy to boost/harness these resources, private sector investment would yield optimal and accruable revenue from oil and gas.”
Accompanied by Dr. Sokonte H. Davies, Executive Director, Marine and Operations, Professor Idris Abubakar, Executive Director – Engineering and Technical Services, among others, Bala-Usman urged stakeholders to support ongoing development in the sector.
Meanwhile, Bala-Usman has appealed to importers and exporters to patronise ports in the Eastern flank of the county to decongest ports in Lagos.
Bala-Usman, made the appeal at the NPA Special Day at the 29th Enugu International Trade Fair in Enugu on Saturday.
Bala-Usman said that patronising the Eastern ports would reduce trucks traffic on Lagos roads as well.
‘‘I wish to use this medium to appeal to importers and exporters to patronise the ports in the Eastern flank of the country, namely: Warri, Rivers, Onne and Calabar ports as this will decongest the ports in Lagos,’’ she said.
The managing director said that NPA had remained resolute in its drive to ensure that the nation’s ports remain safe, secure and customer-friendly, while delivering efficient port services.
‘‘I am glad to inform you that NPA is implementing with vigour, the Presidential Order on Ease of Doing Business in the nation’s ports.
“This is with a view to eradicating all bottlenecks to business transactions in the nation’s seaports.
‘‘We will like port users and stakeholders in the nation’s maritime sector to take advantage of this development,’’ Bala-Usman said.
She maintained that the authority had continued with its vision statement of being the leading port in Africa and making our seaports a pride of the nation in service delivery.
‘‘We have made improvement in our port infrastructure, navigational aids and channels with 24 hours port operations, both for berthing of vessels and discharge of cargo,’’ the managing director said.
Bala-Usman said that NPA had been adhering to policies and strategies as they affect ports operations in ensuring speedy clearance of cargo, improved infrastructure and equipment.
She said that the authority would continue to improve intermodal transportation systems to encourage speedy transfer of goods from the sea ports.
‘‘We anticipate that government’s policies geared toward the diversification of the Nigerian economy will make our ports to attract transshipment of cargoes, which will help to boost our revenue,’’ Bala-Usman said.