By Eseoghene Emuke
Efforts to revive the once moribund Warri Port in Delta State has received a major boost as the Federal Government through the Nigerian Ports Authority has handed over the Terminal B (old port) to renowned port service provider, Ocean & Cargo Terminal Services Limited.
The handing over ceremony, which is considered as a major step towards ensuring that the Warri port booms again with business activities and thereby decongesting the Lagos port, was done by the Managing Director, NPA, Hajia Hadiza Usman in Warri.
Usman at the event said the concession of the Terminal B was part of efforts the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government is taking to ensure that every port in the country receives life again and work effectively.
Represented by the Executive Director, Marine and Operations, Mr Davies Sokonte, the NPA MD noted that with the completion of the Escravos/Warri channel linking the port, Warri port will receives cargoes and ships immediately.
Usman, however, appealed to host and impacted communities in Warri to support federal government’s efforts at returning business activities to the port.
She noted that the concession of the port was aimed at ensuring that the port returns to its full capacity as well as to encourage investors in the Eastern port region to make use of the Warri port.
The NPA MD posited that if the port is allowed to return to its full capacity by all stakeholders including the host communities it would boast economic activities and create employment opportunities for teeming youths in the Niger Delta region particularly in Warri
Usman stated that the handing over of the Terminal B (Warri Old Port) to its new owners signified that the federal government was sincere to ensuring that the once abandoned Warri compete favourably with other sister ports across the country and generate revenue for the government.
On his part, Director-General, Bureau Of Public Enterprise (BPE), Mr Alex A.Okoh while commending the President Buhari for his leadership, noted that the National Council on Privatisation was satisfied with the milestone recorded.
He revealed that the concession of Terminal B is for a period of 25 Years at an annual lease fee of US$1,621,500.00 in addition to the entry fee and monthly throughput fee chargeable on volume of cargo handled
“The objective of the government in Port concession is to increase efficiency in our ports, improve service delivery, upgrade and modernize facilities in ports, reduce cost of shipping and clearing of goods at the Ports and relive the government of the burden of financing the sector”, Okoh further added.
The Group Managing Director, SIFAX Group, Mr Adekunle Oyinloye promised that the management of Ocean & Cargo Terminal Services Limited would bring their wealth of experience in the running of the port.
“As we have expressed at various fora during the course of negotiation and contract signing, Ocean & Cargo Terminal Services Limited is poised to deliver on the mandate of running an efficient port that will soon be become the toast of every client and a source of pride to Nigerians.
“While we are in business to make profit, our company is also interested in affecting positively the economy of the local community and Nigeria as a whole”, Oyinloye added.