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How NPA, NNPC  indecision delays take-off of Ocean & Cargo terminal operations 


Segun Oladipupo.   |

The delayed take-off of operations at the SiFAX owned Ocean and Cargo terminal in Warri has been attributed to inability of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to come to terms over dredging of the river due to underwater pipelines installations.

Findings have revealed that the two agencies of the federal government are yet to conclude on the dredging  modalities due to some of the underwater equipment.

The unresolved dredging modality is the bane of bigger ships calling at the facility even when the concessionaires have put on ground all necessary administrative and operational structures and facilities.

As a way to keep the terminal busy because of the funds committed to the project, the financiers have opted for barge operations pending resolution between the two federal agencies.

In April 2018, Ocean and Cargo Terminal Services Limited was declared the preferred bidder to operate Terminal B, Warri Old Port.

The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), which announced the result of the concession process, said Ocean and Cargo offered the sum of $25,510,000.64 to emerge the preferred concessionaire after its rival-Ecomarine Consortium- was disqualified for improper submission of its bidding documents.

The concession is for a period of 25 years.

When contacted, spokesman of SIFAX Group, Mr. Muyiwa Akande confirmed that the terminal had commenced light operations.

In view of the light operations  at the facility, Akande reiterated that the General Manager in charge of shipping had been seconded to  head operational activities at the terminal in commencement of the barge operations.

He also disclosed that the underwater pipeline had also militated against the smooth take off of shipping operations,  adding that NPA and NNPC are in talks over the issue of dredging.

Akande maintained that:  “Where we are with Warri Port is that some kind of operations have actually started but it is not the type of operations we are looking at.

“Because the major issue in Warri Port has not been sorted out, which has to do with the draught.

“As much as we really want to bring bigger Vessels to that port, the issue of dredging of the draught is a serious challenge to us.

“Government is trying to fix this issue but in the interim, what we are doing  now is that since the draft is  good enough for barging,  we are doing a little bit of that here and there but the core vessel operations have not started because the draft is not there.

“We are engaging the government to know how soon they can resolve the issue as soon as possible and there are assurances given to us but that has not been addressed.

“There are discussions going on between our team and NPA but we are not yet sure if the timeline” Akande disclosed.

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