Since its formal opening by President Goodluck Jonathan over three years ago, the Onitsha River Port have not been fully utilised, making many to conclude that the billions of naira invested into the project has gone down the drains.
Arising from a conference on with the theme, “Putting Onitsha River Port into Economic Use before its concession,” the stakeholders enjoined the federal government to guarantee safety through an effective round-the-clock patrol by joint military personnel and application of other safety measures to safeguard lives and property.
Participants at the conference which were drawn from various organisations within and outside the maritime industry, including other relevant organised private sector (OPS) operators of the economy called on the federal government to come up with legal and administrative frame work that will help bring to light the enabling environment that will encourage businesses to thrive at the Onitsha River Port.
They urged the federal government to hasten the setting-up of the Administrative Delivery Team with members drawn from various related organizations for the quick take-off of operations at the river port.
The stakeholders noted the importance of synergy between the federal government and the private sector under a public private partnership (PPP) and encourage re-doubling of efforts to concession the river port.
They also emphasised the need for constant upgrading of maritime and port infrastructure to enable the investors take optimal advantage of Anambra State’s expansive coastline in areas of shipbuilding, dockyard operations, metal fabrication, dock labour, warehousing and recycling plants.
They urged the federal government to be consistent in updating transport policies to facilitate long term planning and sustainable economic returns for the investors just as they commended some investors that have blazed the trail in transporting their cargoes through the inland waterways and urged them to sustain that choice.
Continuing, the stakeholders said: “The importance of moving goods and services through the inland waterways which will help to decongest traffic on road and give added benefits in terms of cost and safety cannot be over emphasised. We commend the federal government for the huge investment expended on the dredging of the lower River Niger and the successful completion of the Onitsha River port to facilitate inter-modal transport system for evacuation of both cargoes and passengers in view of the economic advantages.”
THISDAY had reported that the essence of the conference was to evolve fresh measures for the economic use of the Onitsha River Port, through an interactive session with various stakeholders in the industry.
It was also aimed at sensitising the business community by encouraging them to invest in River Port operations and other related activities.
– John Iwori, This Day