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S’East importers seek answers on why Onitsha Port is inactive 6 months after concession

A number of South East importers who had been planning to make use of Onitsha Port have raised alarm on what they described as official policy of the federal government to kill Onitsha port for Lagos ports to continue booming.
This is as the Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr. Alex A. Okoh, has tasked Ocean & Cargo Terminal Services Limited – the Concessionaire of Terminal ‘B’ Warri Old Port – to focus on increased efficiency, improved service delivery and reduction in the cost of shipping & clearing of goods. In an interview with traders at Ochanja Market, Onitsha, they decried why the National Inland Waterway Authority (NIWA) will keep quiet after noticing that the veiled twin concessionaires of Onitsha Port had remained silent since July last year the port was concessioned for effective operations.
They lamented how their goods and cargos spoil on their way from Lagos ports and called on the government to find out why the Concessionaires are yet to show up at the port not to talk of beginning port operations.
In a statement made available by the BPE image maker, Amina Tukur Othman, the agency said the signing ceremony for the Concession of the Port between the Concessionaire and the Bureau was witnessed by critical stakeholders including the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in Abuja on Tuesday.
Okoh reminded Ocean & Cargo Terminal Services Limited that the pursuit of its business objectives must be tailored in a way that would assist in the realisation of objectives of the Port Concession programme of the Federal Government which commenced in 2005 and culminated in the concession of over 23 terminals to private operators.
He recalled that the Federal Government upgraded the facilities at Terminal B Warri Old Port, which included the construction of a new quay wall and apron equipped with requisite facilities for berthing vessels, making it one of the most modern port terminals in the country at the time. “Upon completion of the rehabilitation and reconstruction works, there was a need to concession the Terminal to a private operator who would be responsible for the operation of the Terminal and carrying out further development of its facilities in line with the Ports Concession Programme”, Okoh observed.