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Dredging of Calabar Port, deplorable road, challenges as ICRC inspects facility

The Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, ICRC on Friday visited the Calabar Port as part of its regulatory function to monitor the activities of concessionaires in the Port facility.

The team which had earlier visited the ports in Lagos first paid a visit to the Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA in Calabar to intimate the Port Management of the reason behind its visit.

Speaking during the interaction, Mr Michael Ohiani, Director General, ICRC said they decided to have an interactive session with NPA and terminal operators to ensure that concession agreements signed with the Federal Government were complied with.

While commending the NPA, Ohiani said despite the challenges the Port was faced with, it had been able to find innovative ways of ensuring that the Port was active.

“We are here as part of our regulatory function to see if terminal operators are complying with their responsibility as entrenched in the concession agreements with the Federal Government.

“We also like to find out the challenges, taking into consideration the fact that the National Assembly will soon commence its assessment of how the concessionaires are keeping to the terms and obligations of the concession agreements,” he said.

Dredging of Calabar Port, deplorable road, challenges as ICRC inspects facility

Responding, Mr Olumati Festus, Calabar Port Manager thanked the ICRC for its commendation while noting that although the environment was challenging, they had to look for other ways to survive.

Festus said due to the lack of dredging of the Calabar Port channel, bigger vessels were not coming to the Port and it was affecting the full utilisation of the Port facilities.

While talking about the activities and challenges of the terminal operators in the Calabar Port, he complained of the deplorable road network connecting Calabar and other states, making it a nightmare for clients.

He said some of these issues have affected the operations of the terminal operators and some of them were still owing NPA leases.

“On financial issues, some of the terminals are still owing us lease fees and some of them hang it on NPA’s inability to dredge the Calabar Port channel so that big vessels can come in.

“However, the NPA has a debt recovery committee that is pushing to recover most of these debts, including the ones owed by big shipping companies and have recovered much.

“Before now, we used to have just four to five vessels a month but since I took over, we have started recording 15 to 20 vessels monthly because we now go out to look for vessels and attract them to come to calabar with incentives,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the team from ICRC after the meeting with NPA visited three terminal operators in the port to inspect their activities, including Integrated Logistics Services, and Intels.

Others include Shoreline Logistics Nigeria Limited, SLNL and Ecomarine Terminal Nigeria Limited, ECM. (NAN)

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