Posted by News Express | 19 February 2016 | 6,469 times
The Director-General of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Mr Aminu Dikko has urged the Federal Government to dredge the Warri/Escravos water channels.
Dikko made the plea on Thursday in Warri after he led a team from the ICRC on an inspection tour of facilities at the concessioned terminals in Warri Port.
He said that the development would help to rejuvenate business activities at the port.
The terminals inspected included the Julius Berger, Associated Maritime Services Ltd (AMS) and the Integrated Logistics Services (INTELS) terminals.
The director-general expressed satisfaction at the significant level of investments put in place by the concessionaires.
He said that the concession had contributed greatly to the growth of the economy.
According to him, Julius Berger for instance, had invested almost 23 million dollars to buy equipment.
He said, “The concessionaires have made significant investments running into billions of dollars to improve their facilities which was part of the development plan.”
“The monitoring and evaluation visit is a critical component of the mandate of the ICRC.
“It helps to ensure that infrastructure assets that have been granted to the private sector by the Federal Government are improved upon.
“So far, it has been successful; we also had the opportunity to interact with the guarantor which is the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).”
Dikko said that there was a dearth in vessels sailing into the Warri Port which by implication had affected the envisaged revenues accruable to government.
“As a result of restiveness, vessels are not comfortable coming into the Warri port because of its attendant negative impact on the anticipated business opportunities which is a setback for the concessionaires.
“The channels are supposed to have been dredged by government over time.
“As it is now, big vessels cannot come in due to the shallow depth.
“Any big vessel coming will have to stay somewhere to reduce the cargoes to make the vessel lighter.
“This takes a lot of time and additional costs and it is a major disincentive to businesses.”
He commended the management of NPA for providing adequate security for the terminal operators and other stakeholders in the port.
According to him, there are several Naval boats at the different terminals, permanently located to provide security to both the workers and ships coming into and going out of the port.
Earlier, the Delta Port Manager, Mr Abubakar Umar, who conducted the ICRC team round the concessioned terminals, identified draft as a major issue in the port.
According to Umar, ocean-going liners cannot come in, while importers also have concerns about the security in the waterways.
In his remarks, Mr Ranko Donanchi, Head of Operations, INTELS, decried the dearth of business at the Warri port, adding that the company handled only 16 vessels in 2015.
Donanchi said that that Intels had aligned with the Federal government’s policies in the areas of port development and standardisation, local content initiative, technology transfer and community development.
Also speaking, the Public Relations Officer of the Julius Berger Terminal, Mr Henry Osunbor, said that the company had met the statutory requirements as regards fees, taxes, insurance and port terminal maintenance.
The Director of the AMS Warri base, Mr Jimoh Ohwo, said that the company had also made commendable progress in its operational and developmental plans.
“Our staff strength has increased from 15 to 68 with additional 171 dock labourers (casual).
“We have built perimeter fences, access control with ISPS, CCTV cameras, boardroom, among others, as part of our developmental plan.
“Between the months of May and June 2014; we had three vessels with combined tonnage of 260,203 tonnes.” (NAN)
•Photo shows Warri Port.
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