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Concession Onitsha Port to be operational, moving cargoes is nothing—Stakeholders

Key stakeholders and leading business owners in South East have berated the recent activities of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) in merely engaging Akewa Colmar Terminal Limited (ACTL) to move containers from Lagos Ports to Onitsha River Port via Burutu Port in Delta State.

The stakeholders, who own mega businesses in the geopolitical zone told Business Hilights South East Bureau Chief in Onitsha that the real essence of refurbishing Onitsha Port by former Jonathan administration is to boost export and import businesses in the zone and not to be ferrying cargoes imported in Lagos via Bururtu Port to Onitsha.

They described the NIWA use of the Port as an embarrassment to the collective intelligence of the South East businessmen.

In a statement, the General Manager, Corporate Affairs, NIWA, Jibril Darda’u, calimed that the deal is aimed at not only decongesting the Lagos Ports, but also to ensure that the Onitsha River Port becomes functional.

He further explained that the idea of hauling containers via Burutu Ports to Onitsha River port is to avoid the two bridges between Gbarekolo and Bumandi. This is because they are too tiny and shallow for sea-moving badges and vessels to ply; hence the consideration of ACTL to activate the route from Lagos Ports to Burutu Port, then to Onitsha River Port as final destination. The Managing Director of NIWA, Dr. George Moghalu, said NIWA is targeting about 1,000 containers to be hauled per trip from Lagos Ports to Onitsha River Port within four days. He added that NIWA is engaging Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) and other stakeholders to facilitate the commencement of the cargo haulage. The Chairman, ACTL, Chief Kenneth Donye, expressed the readiness of his company to partner NIWA in carrying out this noble and historic transshipment from Lagos Ports via Burutu Port to Onitsha River Port as final destination.