•Awards N3.9 Billion Onitsha River Port
A clearer picture of the pattern of budgetary approvals for the nation’s maritime sector began to appear last week as a whopping N20Billion was approved for the cash-strapped National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) for 2010.
Shipping Position Weekly learnt last week also that as part of government’s determination to give vent to its policy of developing inland water transportation in Nigeria, a contract of about N3Billion has been awarded for the completion of Onitsha River port in Anambra state.
The river port was conceived during the regime of former president Shehu Shagari. It was later abandoned, leading to its vandalization.
The contract which was awarded last week to an indigenous firm which was simply identified as Messrs Inter Dau Limited is for the total construction of the strategic river port. It involves rehabilitation of quay walls and provision of civil infrastructures and cargo handling equipment. The project is to be completed in 2010.
Apart from Onitsha river port, river jetties such as: Owerrinta, Degema, Okrika have also been provided for, in addition to removal of water hyacinth on these rivers. Oguta river port has also being awarded.
Our source confirmed that all the projects were in preparation for the completion of work on the capital dredging of lower River Niger from Niger state to Bayelsa.
Speaking on the Onitsha river port project which is the first beneficiary of the rehabilitation and construction of river ports and jetties across all the states along the lower River Niger, our source disclosed that specifically the Onitsha port is expected to facilitate container freighting from Port Harcourt port to the commercial city of Onitsha by barges.
It was also confirmed that NIWA will also acquire a maintenance dredger in 2010, so that when the current capital dredging is completed, the agency can take over regular maintenance of the lower River Niger.