The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has expressed worries over the under utilisation of Calabar port, in Cross Rivers State.
President of ANLCA,Tony Iju Nwabunike who disclosed this on Tuesday , during the Association of Maritime Journalists of Nigeria (AMJON) monthly roundtable meeting with stakeholders, noted that the two seaports in Lagos have been overstretched.
Nwabunike expressed worries over the under utilisation of Calabar port, even as he stressed the need for other existing eastern ports to be revamped.
Why are they not facilitating the job on time and what is the actual problem. So the issue is very clear that we need to know the company handling the Calabar port dredging contract and let it be dredged immediately.
Nwabunike who is also the patron of the association, disclosed the association called on the Management of the NPA to consider the position of the ANLCA towards revamping the Calabar port for optimal utilisation pointing out that the association would work harmoniously to support government for the actualisation of the eastern ports like that of Calabar.
He further described Calabar seaport as critical to the nation’s economy, with routes linking Ebonyi, Benue and Adamawa states respectively, down to all the northern states of the country.
According to him, the association has commenced moves to engage the federal government through the office of Secretary General of the Federation, in ensuring that the Calabar port and other seaports within eastern part of the country are resuscitated for optimal and competitive trade to thrive.
The ANLCA frontman further urged contractors handling dredging of Calabar port to expedite actions in completion of the project adding that the peculiarities of the Cross Rivers State based port has proximity by road to the hitherland and landlocked countries in the sub region.
He lamented that existing ports in the West Africa region sub region like Tema, Lome and Cotonou are ahead of Nigerian seaports because of their technological advancement against ours which has suffered infrastructural deficits for decades.
He said: “We thank the government for its interest in getting Calabar port work at optimal capacity and advise that the contractors given the dredging work be directed to commence operation.
“This dredging will go a long way to make the port more accommodating for ships and reduce the pressure on some of the presently used ports in the country.
“We have a lot to discuss with the federal government and one of such is the total modernisation of our ports. If you look at our ports today you cannot compare it with the port of Tema (Ghana) because there is so much negative things to talk about our ports.
“The ports are overstretched and we are supporting the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to divert some cargoes to other ports in the country because Lagos ports are no longer what they used to and the alternative ports should be other areas like Calabar and others.
“We mentioned specifically who is dredging the Calabar port for almost six to seven years now. There is this contract for the dredging of Calabar seaport for years and nobody knows about them to engage them on the delay.
AMJON President Paul Ogbuokiri in his opening remarks stated that the roundtable for stakeholders was aimed to interact and disseminate information for the sector’s growth.