Our challenges to revive Eastern Port – NPA

By Dapo Olawuni            

Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority(NPA), Ms Hadiza Bala Usman has disclosed that the Escravos Channel leading to Delta Ports has been abandoned for thirty five years before the authority decided to dredge and increase the draft of the channel.

Hadiza however announced that Escravos channel has now been dredged from its initial 3.4meters to 7 meters to accommodate bigger vessels.

The Escravos River is a 35-mile (56-kilometre) westerly watercourse linked by a maze of interconnected waterways to the Forcados, Warri, Benin, and Ethiope rivers.

Pilots that navigate ships through the channel have over the years decried the breakdown of the breakwater, noting that vessels were diverting from the channel to avoid grounding and that government was daily losing revenue in hundreds of thousands of dollars as a result.

Speaking during a public hearing by an Ad-Hoc Committee of the House of Representatives in Abuja yesterday, Hadiza represented by Executive Director in charge of Engineering and Technical Services, Engr. Idris Abubakar highlighted NPA’s recent contributions to making Eastern Ports function better.

The MD said aside from reduction in terminal charges to encourage patronage of the ports, her administration has embarked on corporate social responsibility to alleviate the plights of host communities and encourage entrepreneurship.

She told the lawmakers that the distances from fairway buoys in eastern ports are much longer than that of Lagos ports and will require vessels in eastern ports to deploy more fuel and spend more time before berthing.

She added that the breakwater in Warri Port has given way for long while roads leading to the ports in different parts of the country requires attention of the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing.

NPA according to her had written to the ministry of works since 2016 requesting that bridges in Taraba and roads leading from Calabar port from the North East part of the country be fixed to enable cargo movement from Calabar to the north.

“We have installed Local Maritime Distress Surveillance System (LMDSS) Coastal Station. We are also running radio signals for over ten years to assist mariners calling at the eastern ports” she said

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