Stakeholders seek dredging of facility, 24-hour pilotage
No fewer than 200 vessels have berthed at the Warri facility of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) owing to the improved security in the area.
Making the disclosure yesterday at a stakeholders’ forum put together by the board chairman of the NPA, Emmanuel Olajide Adesoye, in the oil city, the management confirmed that piracy and other security breaches in axis had reduced drastically.
The event, aimed at exchanging ideas on how to revive the Delta ports, had also held at the Rivers, Onne and Calabar facilities.
Adesoye lauded the management for nurturing a cordial relationship with the host communities for the improved security and smooth activities at the port.
He pledged that the dock and other ports in Delta States would become a major hub in maritime business when their upgrading is completed.
In his remarks, the Delta Ports Manager, Simeon Okeke, said the development was on account of the remedial dredging of the Escravos channels that have enabled large vessels to access the Warri port, replacement of the critical buoys that were hitherto missing, rehabilitation of port facilities, illumination of the facility as well as the repossession and ejection of illegal occupants from the trailers’ park among others.
He enthused that towage services would be efficiently handled as the job had been outsourced with the contract already at the last lap, adding that documentation and payment processes had been revised through e-payment, e-SEN and Revenue Invoicing Management System (RIMS).
Also speaking, the stakeholders that include the host communities, the Nigerian Navy, the Nigeria Customs Service, operators and workers, highlighted the challenges at the terminal.
A good number of players deplored the shallowness of the channels within the ports which had made them unable to host heavy vessels.
They, therefore, called for their dredging to at least nine metres draft.
The general manager of one of the terminals, Henry Ajor, said: “If we are to lessen the maritime traffic at the Lagos ports by using the Warri facility, the channel within the port must be dredged to handle bigger vessels.”
Also, the Shipping Trade Group sought a 24-hour pilotage at the dockyard as obtained elsewhere.