The Federal Government has restated its commitment to reposition the Onne Port to maximise its huge potential in export and import trades.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr Mu’azu Sambo, said this in a statement by the ministry’s Director of Press and Public Relations, Mr Eric Ojiekwe on Friday in Abuja.
Sambo said this at Onne, Rivers, during a three-day fact finding tour to ascertain why the port was not performing at maximum capacity.
“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,” he said.
Sambo assured that Sukuk IV would rehabilitate the dilapidated access road to the Onne Port.
He said he would liaise with his counterpart in the Ministry of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola on how the repairs could be fast-tracked.
The minister warned that government would no longer tolerate nonpayment of practitioners operating fees by Terminal Operators.
In a related development, the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko, said government was keen on increasing traffic at the Eastern Ports, to decongest the Lagos ports.
Bello-Koko said the agency was working with the Nigerian Navy to improve security on the country’s Waterways.
“The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) have deployed assets under the Deep Blue Project that will be working with the Nigerian Navy to improve security”.
The West Africa Container Terminal (WACT) Nigeria, Managing Director, Naved Zafa, while briefing the minister on their facility, said: “we have acquired sufficient cargo handling equipment at our terminal to improve the efficiency of the port’’.
He said Nigeria Customs Service had installed a new scanning machine at the port complex.
Zafa said the scanner would facilitate trade, ensure security and drastically reduce the importation of illicit goods by unscrupulous persons.
He said it would also reduce dwell time by promoting faster and easier treatment of cargoes.
Other facilities visited include, Integrated Logistics Services Terminal, International Container Terminal, Onne Multipurpose Terminal and Brawal.
The minister was accompanied by the Director, Finance and Accounts, Federal Ministry of Transport, Umaru Hassan, who represented the Permanent Secretary, Dr Magdalene Ajani, Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation, Fidet Okhiria among others.