Less that one week after the port manager in charge of Port Harcourt port in Rivers state, Mr. Dele Alabi told Shipping Position Weekly that the oldest port in the eastern part of the country is repositioning to handle container-laden vessels, one of the two private terminal operators in that port says that it has so far committed a whopping N10Billion to the development of its terminal.
Managing Director Ports and Terminal Operators Nigeria Limited, Mrs. Lizzy Ovbude told maritime journalist recently in Port Harcourt port that the port has been transformed from being a den of criminals prior to concession into a haven for importers.
“The port used to be criminal den. Customers will be robbed in the day time. It took us a lot to push the criminals out and gets the port functioning”, she declared, even as she disclosed that the amount was invested to give he company’s berths one to four a serious face lift since taking over as the concessionaires.
Apart flushing out he criminals, she also denied insinuations that Niger Delta militants have taken over the ports, saying that there is no truth in the reports and that the port is as peaceful and conducive as any business environment should be.
It will be recalled that Mr Alabi hinted in the excusive interview with our correspondent that the terminal operator had acquired brand new cargo handling equipment. This was also confirmed that the maritime journalist who were conducted round the terminal and who were shown eight newly acquired plants.
Further unfolding what the company has so far done to make the terminal more attractive to shippers, Mrs Ovbude said that out of the four berths, two have already been developed and totally rehabilitated while work is progressing on the remaining two berths. She added that the company has dredged the berths to 8.5 metres draft while working towards attaining 10.5 mere.
Conducting the journalists round the terminal, the managing director stressed: “You can see by yourselves the level of operation going. People will be somewhere telling people not to send their consignment to Port Harcourt, that the militants will highjack the vessel and all that. You have seen it now yourselves.”
Shipping Position Weekly recalls that the port manager had confirmed that the port and its channel are under constant watch by security apparatuses and that militancy has not had any negative effect on the ports activities.