29 August 2013, Warri – PORT users in Warri have blamed the low patronage of the port on high charges by Intels and the wrong impression that the port is being managed by the company after the concession exercise.
This came as Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, blamed low throughput on the shallow draft of the port.
An importer in Onitsha market, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, explained that the general impression among importers is that Intels is incharge of the port.
According to the importer, although there are two concessionaires in Warri, (the other one is Julius Berger), Intels’ dominance is discouraging them from shipping their goods through Warri port.
A stakeholder in Warri said that it is true that Intels do charge more. The stakeholder pointed out that goods for which Julius Berger would charge N15 million, Intels would charge N62 million.
Another operator in Port Harcourt said the same thing is happening over there where one of the concessionaires is being prevented from handling any consignment that is oil and gas related because of a perceived agreement with government for such cargoes to be handled at Onne port. However, General Manager in charge of Public Affairs of the NPA, Capt Iheanacho Ebubeogu, attributed the lull in business at the Warri port to the shallow draft which makes it impossible for bigger vessels to call at the port.
Ebubeogu noted that the situation is being worked on to ensure that the channel is dredged to about 10 meters.
In his words: “It has the element of development that we are trying to embark on now. We are working at dredging it (Warri port channel) to 10 meters, fill in break waters and so on.”
This view is shared by the National Financial Secretary of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Prince Val Johnbull Oribhabor, who said that shallow draft of the channel and lack of political will on the part of the state government were responsible for the present situation of the port in Warri. Oribhabor said that another hindrance to vessels calling at the port is the fact that ships that call there presently do not get cargoes to load on their return trip. He pointed out that there is need for the state government to properly market the port to make it attractive.