THE process for the concession of Onitsha River Port which is ongoing may be completed in the first quarter of next year and when completed the preferred bidder takes over the port operation.
Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Chief George Moghalu, dropped this hint on Monday at the Onitsha River Port complex while rescheduling the planned commencement of haulage operation at the river port stalled due to barge hiccups at Onne Port, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
NIWA boss who could not give details of the concession process due to other bothering official schedules, regretted the inconveniences which it may have caused those in attendance most of whom were importers and All Progressive Congress (APC), faithful, pleaded to communicate them as
soon as the hiccups in barge haulage operation is sorted out in Onne.
Speaking through the Onitsha Area Manager, Mrs Queen O. Uba, he added that once the barge expected from Onne comes on board, barges from Lagos and other places would follow suit.
Earlier in his speech, the River port Manager, Mr Baba Adams Spencer, disclosed that, “since inception of Clarion Shipping operation in the port all containers were transported by road and now that Connect
Rail Services limited has come up with a better and improved option via the use of barge, it is a welcome development as it tends to promote transportation on our waterways. much more than this, the operational activities at the port will be increased and will equally serve as revenue booster to the authority”.
“On this basis, the presence of Clarion Shipping and Connect Rail Services at the port, if synergized will promote commercial activities and attract more investors”
Most of the participants and stakeholders whose views were sought declined comments saying, “we can only react when barge haulage operation commences as it has been postponed to enable them sort out the barge haulage hiccups at Onne that stalled the Onitsha River port barge operation.
The state chairman of the Civil Liberties Organization, CLO, Comrade Vincent Ezekwueme who reacted expressed satisfaction with the efforts
of the NIWA MD in ensuring a functional Onitsha River port.
He said, ” concession which process is going on now, when completed, Onitsha port will generate revenue for the government and create employment for the youths”.
“The Lagos, Onne, among other ports will be decongested and goods transported to Onitsha at a cheaper rate”, he stated further.