FG to reposition Delta port, dredge Escravos channel to boost vessel traffic, says NPA

By Blessing Oziwo

In a bid to revive the port in Delta State, the Federal Government said it had awarded a contract for remedial dredging of Escravos channel.

The government said that the move would help to expand the channel and attract bigger vessels to the port in Delta State.

According to a statement by the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Mohammed Bello-Koko, who stated this in Warri, Delta State, said the dredging of the channel would boost the cargo volume to both Warri and Calabar Ports.

According to him, the dredging, which was halfway done, would enable the port in Delta State to have a better draft, receive bigger vessels and record fewer incidences of vessels running aground when completed.

“We all know that the break- waters collapsed about 10 years ago, and there has been high siltation resulting in the reduction of the draft from seven meters to three meters in some places.”

Bello-Koko also said that the agency had started the mapping and charting of the Escravos channel, starting from the fairway buoy down to Koko Port, which had not been done for over a decade or more, has commenced.

“The essence is to enable us to be able to know the draft along the way and also ensure that the navigational aids are properly placed. This is because some decisions can only be taken after knowing that the channel has been properly mapped and surveyed,” he said.

He said that the efforts showed that NPA was beginning to pay attention to the ports outside Lagos.

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“We have a special interest in ensuring that Warri and other ports are more active. This is why we have been holding stakeholders’ meetings and we are going to Port Harcourt for another one. This enables us to engage with the importers and exporters for them to know that these ports are available for use.

We will deploy more marine equipment and ensure that the signals are also working to ensure safe navigation of vessels, “he added.

The NPA team visited the Olu of Warri Kingdom, Ogiame Atuwatse III, to seek support in reviving the Warri Port. The monarch said he was satisfied with the visit of the NPA manage- ment to the Warri Port as the first port of call after Bello-Koko’s confirmation as the managing director.

He said the eastern ports needed to be opened up, adding that the recent efforts would yield positive results for the benefit of the importing community.

He, however, said that the NPA should always come to the royal family for support to achieve the goal of opening up Warri Port for business.

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