Mohammed Bello-Koko, Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, has explained why the dredging of the Calabar Port has been stalled.
Speaking to journalists during a visit to the Calabar Port Complex on Saturday, Bello-Koko said the project was delayed because of a court dispute between the NPA and the contractor.
Dredging is the removal of sediments and debris from the bottom of lakes, rivers, harbours, and other water bodies.
The dredging of the Calabar channel is expected to enable ocean-going vessels to navigate into the port without any hitch.
Bello-Koko said the authority was currently pursuing an out-of-court settlement with the contractor. “The contract for the dredging of the Calabar channel was awarded many years ago but there is litigation between the Nigerian Ports Authority and the contractor,” Bello-Koko said.
“This has inhibited our ability to dredge the channel. What we have done in recent times is to start looking for an out-of-court settlement. The authority, working with the Federal Ministry of Transportation and the Ministry of Justice, has resumed discussions in terms of how to settle this out of court, either to return the same contractor to continue dredging, or appoint another company.
“This has been delaying the dredging of that channel, we have taken it very seriously, it is one of the reasons we are here today.”
Bello-Koko said the visit was to enable NPA’s management to meet with stakeholders and reassure them that the federal government was taking necessary steps to ensure the dredging of the channel.
Commenting on business traffic to the port, he said despite limitations on the channel, there would still be imports that would go to Calabar.
“We have been discussing with shipping companies and consignees; so, we will locate major importers and encourage them to use Calabar,” he said.
He further assured that more efforts would be made to make the eastern ports more active.
Bello-Koko said that NPA’s engineers had done a conditional survey of the depth of the pile at the Calabar Port and other Eastern ports to determine how decayed the quays were. He said that it would lead to decisions on whether it would be constructed or replaced.
“Modernisation of the port is holistic, it is not just about Tin Can or Apapa,” we are talking about holistic modernisation of all the ports owned and operated by the NPA.”
Culled from www.thecable.ng/
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