There is a tremendous improvement as regards ship handling operations and an increase in ship traffic and revenue, such that over 200 vessels now berth in Delta Ports, Warri.
The development, brought about by a synergy among management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), security agencies and other critical stakeholders, has brought back increased economic activities in the oil-rich city.
Chairman of NPA Board of Directors, Mr Emmnauel Olajide Adesoye, who chaired a stakeholders’ forum after his second on-the-spot assessment tour of the facility during the week in Warri, commended the improvement he had seen after his last visit in November 2016.
“The purpose is to have an on-the-spot assessment of the progress we’ve made by this port since our last meeting in November 2016.
“The current challenge is about the issue of dredging the channels in the port, particularly the terminals.
“We’re already taking action concerning it. So, there’s no problem. No time frame, but we are on it,” the chairman noted.
He expressed satisfaction at the improved security situation in the waterways which, he enthused, has brought about more vessels berthing at the port.
“I’m impressed with the security situation in the port. No security and safety issue. No vandalism. This was not so the last time we came.
“The management has lived true to its word and you can see the degree of improvement that has happened here.
“The number of ships has increased significantly and revenue has gone up.
“That’s what happens when there’s unity among stakeholders, management and the communities,” he stated, why responding to security issues raised by shipping agents.
Port Manager, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Delta Ports, Warri, Mr S. O. Okeke, at the forum, affirmed that the progress made in the last two years stemmed from the Executive Order of May 18, 2017, issued by then acting President Yemi Osinbajo in respect of ease of doing business in seaports.
Okeke said Warri Port was experiencing enhanced environment for business to thrive after keying into the policy, adding that it has transformed Warri Port into a business hub, especially after the remedial dredging of the Escravos Channels.
He noted that other achievements on record due to the order included the replacement of the critical buoys, repossession of trailer park, leasing of the trailer park which is now a Load Bay for trucks, illumination of the entire port and the upcoming towage services.
According to him, documentation and payment processes have witnessed improvement through e-payment, and e-SEN and revenue invoicing management systems (RIMS), among others.
Speaking on behalf of the Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, Rufai Mohammed, stated that in recent times, only the regime of President Muhammadu Buhari has embarked on the dredging of the Warri terminals.
He said since the Federal Government was committed to improving the economic activities in the ports, more dredging is being carried out to encourage bigger vessels to berth in Warri Ports.
He, therefore, called on all stakeholders, especially host communities, to continue to maintain the peace for smooth operations in order to shore up economic activities.
Meanwhile, stakeholders from shipping firms such as Mr Sunny Iwuji and Akinwumi Akinyemi, called for more security to enable them to meet the global practice of 24 hours shipping activities as against the current 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. regime.
Stakeholders at the well-attended forum included Custom Area Controller (Edo/Delta), represented by Deputy Controller, Nnamdi Ebeatu, representatives of other security agencies, union leaders, management and staff of Delta Ports and captains of industries, among others.