The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has expressed its readiness to partner with the private sector in promoting maritime businesses in Nigeria.
Its Managing Director, Dr George Moghalu, gave the assurance on Thursday while inspecting the ongoing rehabilitation work at the Burutu Port in Delta.
“We are ready to partner private sector players by creating the enabling environment, ease the regulations and a fair level playing field to help them grow their busineses,” Moghalu said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the moribund port is being rehabilitated by a private outfit, Akewa-Colma Terminal Ltd.
Moghalu said that the port would serve as a transshipment of cargoes to hinterlands like Onitsha, Lokoja, Baro, among others.
The managing director said that it would also help to decongest the Lagos ports, and as well ease the pressure on the roads.
According to him, it is not about building ports, but making them active to be able to decongest Lagos.
“We intend to encourage this port to be a Transshipment port so that vessels can move from Lagos to Burutu, then from Burutu they can move by badges to the various hinterlands.
“Burutu Port is very strategic, everyone is concerned about the congestion in Lagos. We are also concerned about how to move cargoes to hinterlands
“Our roads are not designed for the loads they are carrying; they are not designed to carry the weight they are carrying.
“In a civilised democracy and advanced countries, bulk cargoes are usually move by air or water, and ours cannot be different.
“We have over 10,000 kilometres waterway; what is required for us to do is to make our channels navigable all year round and put them into active use for the good of our people,” Moghalu said
While commending the management team of Akewa-Colmar Terminal for the good work, Moghalu said the concern of the Federal Government was to make the port functional in line with its diversification policies.
Also, Mr Ebisinne-Kofee Amasuono, Senior Special Assistant to the Delta Government, expressed the state government’s commitment to the project.
“Government is ready to give assistance for its seamless operation by way of providing security and enabling environment,” Amasuono said.
Also, the Chairman, Akewa-Colmar Terminal, Dr Kenneth Duoye, thanked NIWA for considering Burutu Port as Transshipment hub for container transportation from Lagos/Onne to Onitsha.
“This will be one of the greatest achievements of this management team as the Lagos congestion has become a major challenge to the Federal Government, importers, exporters and shippers.
“We believe that by bringing all stakeholders into this arrangement, this congestion problem will soon be a thing of the past,” he said.
Earlier, the Area Manager, Warri Office of NIWA, Mr Mohammed Dangana, said that NIWA, Warri office, was able to scale up its revenue generation by 400 per cent in 2020.
Dangana, however, listed logistics, security, environment, furniture, among others, as some of the immediate challenges facing the office.