THE Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Dr. George Moghalu has vowed to concession Onitsha River Port before leaving office.
When concession had taken place, movement of Cargoes will greatly reduce the congestion on roads and Seaports through effective transshipment to our River Ports in hinterlands, thereby reducing the incidencies of road mishap.
He made this known during the Stakeholders meeting on the economic viability of Onitsha River Port operation at CJ Patterson Hall, All Saints Anglican Church, Onitsha, Anambra State.
The Managing Director said that they are greatly encouraged by the reactions generated by the Maiden Flag Off of the haulage of cargo from Onne Port to Onitsha Port penultimate week, which is no doubt to his mind, marks another milestone achievement for the Interrmodel Transportation System in Nigeria.
“I am optimistic that this epoch revival will generate substantial business activities and create employment through its operation, other transport agencies will have a boom in Nigeria and Southeast in particular,” Dr. Moghalu said.
It will be recalled that far back, when the then Kwara Benue and East Central States formed the River Niger Benue Transport Company (NBTC), also Federal Parastatal Central Water Transport Company (CWTC) initiated and operated similar transportation on the Niger and Benue Rivers.
This current revival of the Waterway will take steps to improve the impediments that hindered previous initiatives.
“We are now more determined than ever to make more Waterways navigable to facilitate marine transportation across the country,” the Managing Director added.
He said that presntly Onitsha River Port is nearing congestion, which is an indication of the volume of Cargo expected to be hauled on Inland Waters and the port is currently undergoing continuous improvements.
Dr. Moghalu said that the route from Onne Seaport to Onitsha River Port are also undergoing similar improvement vide route update and improved navigable aids. Partnership wth private Sector cannot over emphasized.
Hence, this parlay geared towards sensitizing our business Community in Anambra and South East to tap into this lofty initiative of the Federal Government.
He urged all the Stakeholders in and out of the Country, Importers and Exporters, maritine transport support, companies to key into this Federal Government efforts in the development of water transportation into this hinterland.
The Chairman of the occasion Chief Godwin Ubaka Okeke (GUO) on behalf of the transporters commendedtge NIWA MD for all his efforts in fast tracking of the Onitsha Port.
He also said that thus is the first time an Igbo man is being appointed the MD of NIWA, he commended President Buhari and vowed to campaign and vote for APC if Buhari will work and complete Onitsha-Awka-Enugu Expressway, complete the 2nd Niger Bridge and concession the Riverport.
In his speech, the President of Onitsha Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture Mr. Chris Ukachukwu said that Onitsha Chamber of Commere as the foremost City Chambers in the State has remained in the forefront of proactive policy advocacy on issues relating to the Port and its effect on trade and commerce for the Onitsha business community and the Southeast region.
He said that at various fora in the past, the Chamber consistently engaged various Stakeholders to seek ways to fast track the possibility of achieveing the full utilization of the Onitsha River Port.
It was with great excitement that we welconed the arrival of a barge from Onne Port to Onitsha on the 6th of October, 2020. He commended the Management of NIWA for the historic achievement.
There is no doubt that the commencement of full port activities at the Onitsha River Port would result in a lot of positive spin-offs, which few of them are massive economic boost for the city of Onitsha thus enhancing its status both as a business and logistical hub in Nigeria.
Rapid industrialization would follow as exporters, inporters and manufacturing concerns have over the years shown a high preference for port cities reduction of crime and Youth restiveness, increased revenue for the 3 tiers of Government etc.
He appealed to the Federal Government to urgently consider the linking of the Onitsha River Port to the National Rail network, which he said is in line with global logistical best practices which would provide for the full optimization of multi modal transportation capacity within the city and the region as a whole.
BY SUNNY A. DAVID