The federal government has announced its readiness to provide support and facilitate advocacy required to grow the vessel traffic to Onne and other seaports in the eastern maritime corridor.

Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, announced on Tuesday while commissioning a 4.8km road project and six mooring boats in Onne port complex in Rivers.

He said the federal government has committed $ 1 billion for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of infrastructures across all the seaports in the country, including Onne which was at its conclusive stage.

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He added that the Mooring Boats would be used to safely berth and unberth vessels calling at various pilotage districts in Onne port, assuring that the provision of the boats was the government’s way of further enhancing the security and safety of the maritime space.

Oyetola stated; “Deepening the efficiencies and full capacity utilization of the strategic advantages of Onne and other port complexes in the eastern axis constitutes one of the tools we are deploying in actualizing the key performance indicators assigned to us under the Presidential Performance Bond.

“I have been briefed on the growth in numbers especially for exports emanating from Onne Port Complex, and I am impressed and poised to provide the facilitation and advocacy required to grow the vessel traffic to this important nucleus of growth.

“Although issues concerning the potentials of Onne have always dominated my correspondences with the NPA, I must say that this visit further convinces me that so much more can be achieved if we invest more in our port infrastructure such as we are doing with the over $1Billion worth of reconstruction/rehabilitation investment in our ports including Onne which is at its conclusive stage.

The Minister added; “Providing the enabling atmosphere and deepening investor confidence to patronize the Eastern Ports of Onne, Rivers, Warri, and Calabar is top on the Ministry’s agenda. This is why I was delighted to learn that Onne and Calabar Port Complexes have met the requirements of the International Organization for Standardization and are thus ISO certified. This shows we are doing something right, but we cannot rest on our oars until all other ports are certified.”

Earlier, the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, Mohammed Bello-Koko, said the road would promote the ease and speed of doing business in the port, as the infrastructure deployment would positively impact cargo dwell time and win back huge revenues hitherto lost to terminal operators’ inability to meet their performance targets on account of inaccessibility to their lease areas due to bad road.

“The Phase 4B houses a significant portion of the untapped potentials of the Onne Port Complex, thus the completion of the Road “D” which is the major arterial link to the new Berths 9, 10, 11, and 12 at Federal Ocean Terminal and vast expanse of reclaimed land already leased for port development is actually a link to growth in new business opportunities and increased revenue for the national economy.

“This road which stretches over a total of 4.8 Kilometres, covering two container terminals and caters to almost one thousand trucks daily is indicative of the Authority’s positioning for growth, competitiveness, and future readiness.

“In addition to the 250mm Thick Reinforced Concrete Road, we are here to commission, the scope of this project provides for Median and Side Drain with High Mast Tower Lighting of the dual carriageway port access road of the Federal Ocean Terminal Onne.

“Cognizant of the fact that good road infrastructure requires a complement of sound marine craft and equipment, the Authority in addition to the Security Patrol Boats Commissioned by the Honorable Minister last month, procured six modern Mooring Boats to enhance the efficiency of our harbour operations.

“Mooring Boats enhance safety by assisting the berthing and un-berthing processes, enabling emergency response, vessel security and generally mitigating hazards associated harbor operations.

“To enhance the security of the investments that will begin to sprout with the opening of this road, the Honourable Minister’s support is also required for the concrete fencing of the stretch of land to guard against unauthorized access.”

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