Hadiza Bala Usman, the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, says the executive management of the organisation is committed to making the Calabar Port vibrant.
Usman gave the assurance in her remarks during the Calabar Port Management Retreat in Uyo, Akwa Ibom, on Saturday.
She said the NPA had demonstrated its commitment by approving and supporting the retreat which was intended to re-invent Calabar Port for greater efficiency and increased patronage.
She said: “We are committed to the growth of Calabar Port. The critical issue about Calabar Port has to do with the dredging of the channels; the draft needs to be deeper to ensure we attract more vessels.
“We need to jointly work to bring commercial activities into the state.”
Olufunmilayo Olotu, the Port Manager, Calabar Port, in her comments, said that steps had been taken to ensure the port serves the maritime and logistics needs of the 16 northern states of the country, commercial hubs of Onitsha and Aba as well as neighbouring landlocked countries such as Niger and Chad.
She said the essence of the retreat was to come together as critical stakeholders to rub minds and share ideas on happenings in Calabar Port.
Olotu said in spite of the draft limitations, the port had gone into trade initiatives that had attracted vessels which had sailed in from Greece.
She said that the port also recorded the export of cement, which contributed in the establishment of a cement plant in Ghana.
According to her, the port has also been a hub for the supply of crude oil to the north eastern part of the country.
The Port Manager reiterated the commitment of the management of the NPA to bringing alive the eastern ports, especially the Calabar Port, in a bid to decongest the Lagos port.
She expressed hope that the port would soon be dredged to allow bigger vessels use its facilities.
Presenting a paper, Gerald Akporade, the General Manager of ECM terminals, a terminal operator at the port, called on the Federal Government to reintroduce the 30 per cent rebate on ship dues to encourage shippers’ patronage of the port.
According to him, this will also give room for the evacuation of agro products such as cocoa.
Charles Obi, the Deputy Comptroller of Customs, said his agency and all other organisations at Calabar port were working to ensure that the port was vibrant and unique in its services and operations.
He appealed to the State and Federal Government to intensify efforts at the provision of adequate and modern ports facilities to meet global standards.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the theme of the retreat was “Promoting Purposeful Partnership for Excellent Service Delivery and Increased Port Patronage”.