How terminal operators fared in port concession review —NPA

•Shelves N40bn dredging of Calabar port

THE Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has explained indices used during the almost concluded port concession review, stating that while some operators met up with their obligation, others didn’t. This is even as the Authority revealed that it has shelved plans to dredge the Calabar port channel to its full length due to the huge cost of dredging.

Speaking with the Nigerian Tribune in her office exclusively, the NPA MD, Hadiza Bala Usman, explained that while some operators have met up with their obligation in the area of equipment, others have not.

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According to Hajia Hadiza Bala Usman, “For example, in the area of equipment and their deployment, we looked at how fast are the terminal operators able to offload and unload onto the vessels?

“We also looked at how the terminal operators manage their spaces. All these are part of the development plan obligation which the terminal operators are expected to provide. They were required to build certain things, and improve on infrastructure.

“Some of them have done it while some have not. We looked at where they have not done these things, so that they get penalized, and where we have also not lived up to our own obligations, we gave concession in form of rebate.”

On the shallow draft of the Calabar port channel, the NPA boss advocated for the use of flat-bottom vessels since the Authority has shelved plans to dredge the channel to its full length due to the huge cost associated with it.

In her words, “We are encouraging the use of flat-bottom vessels in Calabar because flat-bottom vessels require less level of draft and dredging. The dredging of the Calabar port, due to the windy channel, is about 80-something kilometer in length. For us to dredge that channel, it will cost us about N40bn. We have done the Cost Benefit Analysis for now, and found out that it is not financially viable for the NPA to embark on that dredging to those meters.”

On the 10 per cent discount given to the Shipping companies to attract more vessel traffic to ports in the Eastern flanks of the nations waterways, the NPA MD explained that the mve is expected to improve the fortunes of the selected ports.

“We  believe the 10 per cent discount will improve the fortunes of these ports because the importers bring their cargoes to the ports through the shipping lines. So if there is a 10 per cent discount for shipping companies calling at these ports, it will definitely rub off on the containers that they carry. If the shipping companies are paying government less 10 per cent, then the consignees patronizing those shipping firms will get a cheaper rate for the carriage of their goods. We will be reviewing the 10 per cent discount policy after some months to see if it has attracted the desired vessel traffic to these ports,” Hadiza Bala Usman added.

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