The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) plans to deploy equipment worth over $30 million to Onne port, Rivers State, it was gathered at the weekend.
The step, it was gathered, is being taken by the NPA to boost efficiency, security and make the Eastern ports attractive for business.
Onne Port Complex is one of the key ports under the NPA; it is situated on the Bonny River Estuary along Ogu creek.
While speaking to newsmen, its General Manager Corporate and Strategy, Mr Adams Jatto said pilot cutters, tug boats and more offshore patrol boats, would be deployed to make it attractive and stem the cycle of criminalities within and around the port.
Although he did not state the cost of the equipment, sources at Onne Port said that it would cost the agency more than $30 million.
He said the management was not happy with indiscriminate anchorage of vessels and directed the perpetrators to desist.
Jatto urged investors to take advantage of the strategic location of the port and as one of the largest oil and gas free zone in the world supporting exploration and production for economic activities.
The free zone provides a logistic oil service centre for the oil and gas industry in Nigeria (onshore and offshore), also providing easy access to the entire West African and sub-Sahara oil fields.
He said its Managing Director, Ms Hadiza Bala- Usman, has ensured that the Eastern ports of Onne, Warri and Calabar started receiving attention from the government, adding that NPA is promoting a programme of seeing that the ports are rehabilitated, brought back to life and that vessels start berthing..
Funds, he said, had been injected to dredge Warri Escravos channel to enable it receive oil tankers, stressing that Onne Port received the largest containerised vessel that ever called at the country a few days ago, adding that traffic to Calabar port by flat bottom vessels have increased.
NPA, Jatto said, is aware that the Lagos ports and its environs needed urgent repositioning to adjust to the avenue created by the COVID-19 pandemic
The Lagos port environment is the busiest in the country and has inevitably been congested the year round.
Jatto said there was the need for improved operation without which the congestion at the seaport terminals would continue.
“These parks will enable truck drivers to wait until they are called up to come to the port.
“This is a way of ensuring the operation is streamlined to allow a limited number of trucks enter the port and to avoid congestion at the port gates and the Lagos port access roads.
“ One of the things that the Managing Director have reiterated in the past years is the need to have designated places for the trucks to stay and wait for our call up because if we don’t have designated places for truck to wait for a call up, the trucks will just wake up and drive to our ports,” he said
The image maker assured that adequate depth of the channel leading to the Eastern ports would be dredged to accommodate big ocean going vessels and adequate security provided.