The Vice President, Delta Shippers Association (DelSA), Mr Simon Asite, has called for accelerated work on the dredging of the Escravos/Warri River in the state.
Asite, who made the call in Warri, also commended the Federal Government for the initiative.
He said that the Escravos water channel was the gateway to the viability of the Delta ports, noting that its dredging would among other things help to decongest the Apapa port in Lagos State.
According to him, it is difficult for ocean-going liners to navigate into the Delta ports because of the shallowness of the Escravos bar.
Recall that the Federal Government had in 2018 awarded the contract for the dredging of the Escravos/Warri River at a cost of N13 billion to revive the moribund Delta ports.
“I want to appeal to the contractor handling the dredging of the Escravos/Warri River to expedite action so that the work can be completed in record time.
“I must also commend the government for taking the bold step to dredge the river.
“It will definitely boost economic activities in Delta and also increase the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in terms of revenue and employment generation,” he said.
The maritime operators also appealed to the Federal Government to put a standby dredger at Escravos to constantly sweep the estuary to enable bigger vessels to sail through easily.
“For Delta ports to function optimally, the Escravos estuary which pumps water into the sea must be swept constantly.
“It will enable bigger vessels coming into Warri river to sail through the channel easily without waiting for high tides,” he said.
Asite, former President, Warri Chamber of Commerce, Industry Mines and Agriculture (WACCIMA), said that smaller vessels were not allowed to trade at the global maritime market in recent times, hence the need for bigger vessels.
He said that the bigger the vessel, the cheaper the cost of transacting business with it.