The Nigerian Ports Authority has concluded plans to commence the dredging of Escravos Channel, Warri Port.
The agency gave this indication on Tuesday when the Managing Director, NPA, Hadiza Usman, paid a courtesy call on the Olu of Warri, Ogiamen Ikenwoli II, in Warri, Delta State.
Usman, who was represented by the Executive Director, Marine and Operations, Dr Sekonte Davies, expressed appreciation to the monarch for persuading the Federal Government to approve the dredging of the channel and also facilitating the project.
In his response, Ikenwoli said he was happy that there was hope for the revival of the Warri Port, which has been inactive for years.
He said, “I have two ports, Warri and Sapele ports, and I am not happy that these ports are not working, but I am happy that now there is a ray of light. When the ports were working, there was a lot of progress and improvement in the living condition of our people.
“I was happy when the President approved the dredging of the ports. Lagos is currently suffocated with activities, while other ports in the nation remain idle.
“Government has invested a lot of money and resources to establish these ports and I do not understand why they are left to waste, while one port is drowning.”
He promised to assist the agency in every way possible to make the task of dredging the port successful.
“I want to hear that ocean liners are coming to Warri to berth. If this happens, everybody here and beyond will calm down, restiveness will cease because people will be gainfully employed. People are restive because they are idle,” the monarch added.
Earlier in his welcome address during the Delta Port Second Quarter Stakeholders’ Forum, the Port Manager, Delta Port, Mr Simon Okeke, stated that Warri was the number three port in the nation until the challenge of the channel prevented bigger vessels from coming to berth.
He noted that the port had continued to witness enhanced and improved business environment since keying into the Executive Order of the Federal Government.
“We are proud and happy to acknowledge that Warri Port has never had it better than now. This is reflected in what this management has done to improve operational efficiency,” Okeke stated.
He said tugboats had been provided for the port and contract awarded for the repair of more tugboats.
“From all indications, these boats will be inaugurated in August this year,” he added.
In addition, he stated that the entire port was now fully illuminated; documentation and payment processes had improved owing to e-payment and other facilities put in place by the management, thereby reducing human interface and blocking revenue leakage.
The Federal Government had in April approved the dredging of the Escravos bar of the Warri Port at a cost of N13bn.
The contract will also cover the replacement of the bad navigational aids at the seaport whose shallow channels have prevented larger vessels from berthing in the region.