Calabar Port Woos Shippers With Incentives

Sunny Edemenang – Uyo
Calabar Port Woos Shippers With Incentives
Calabar Port

 

The Eastern Port of Calabar has been launched  into limelight  in the comity of busy Ports in Nigeria under the operational leadership of the Port Manager,Mr. Iyke Olumati.

Barely few months in office, Mr.Olumati has successfully revived the port from hitherto slow activities. The port now witnesses marked improvement  in turn around time of vessels and a quantum leap in cargo throughput that comes to the port.

In a brief chat with our correspondent at Ibom Icon Hotel during the 2022 Ministerial Retreat, the Port Manager dispelled as untrue the claims of operational inertia in Calabar Port, but acknowledged the Port has experienced upsurge in vessel traffic within the past two months of his assumption of as the Port Manager.

According to the Port Manager, vessels with draughts of between 200 meters and 190 meters called at the Port with 200 trucks. Other project cargoes have been coming through the Port.

The Port has also recorded success in boosting operations in the Port by drawing back the Tropical West African Trade to Calabar Port, a situation where all exports and imports from West and Central Africa comprising Malabo in Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon and Central Africa within the zone, are done through Calabar Port.

 The comparative analysis of operations in Calabar Port paints a picture of astronomical increase in activities as given by the Port Manager.

“In July this year, we had 16 vessels, in August we had 19 vessels that called at the Port. So that tells you there is a marked improvement in the Port’s activities in recent times  with a corresponding increase in revenue generation of the Port”.

The revival of activities in Calabar Port has impacted positively on the economic life of the people within the port city of Calabar in the Cross River State. The port industry has brought turnarounds for many indigenes to be gainfully employed around the port, taking advantage of the multiplier effect of the port operations.

Touching on the perculiarity of the port in the face of under utilization due to shallow channel, the Port Manager said the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, Mohammed Bello-Koko is currently talking with the Federal Ministries of Transportation and Justice to have the  lingering issues over the dredging of Calabar Port Channel settled out of court.

He also disclosed that NPA Management is making plans to get assistance from the World Bank to finance the dredging and assured that once the pending issue in Court is resolved the dredging will commence.

Notwithstanding the pending litigation, it is the creativity and ingenuity of the present Management that has kept the port busy.

“What we have done is to monitor the tide and bring in vessels during hight tides, and on low tides, we keep the vessels at the Fairway Buoys until the water comes up. Operational knowledge is just the magic we have employed to break the jinx  of slow activities and raised the revenue profile of the port”.

My other approach is in the area of making liberal incentives to shippers using the Calabar Port.

” On my arrival in the Port a few months ago, I stopped seeing myself as a civil servant but rather as entrepreneur, assuming that if  this place is my home would I allow it to die? So I began to go to Importers Association in Newi, Aba in Abia and Onitsha in Anambra states and woo them”.

” Through the Managing Director’s magnanimity, importers and exporters using Calabar Port enjoy concessionary rates of incentives both in cargo and ship dues”.

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