The reality of the Calabar Port miracle in the last five months is a bundle of hope rising from the seeming years of hopelessness in the Eastern ports. The Calabar Port defied the age-long odds against it and erupted in revenue stream, surprisingly, even while it was bugged down by litigation. This means the efforts by the management of Nigerian Ports Authority(NPA) to attract patronage at the Eastern ports are yielding fruits as much as the determination of the concessionaires to see the port work equally added values.
Vessels traffic into the Calabar Port Complex of the NPA, has increased in the last five months, according to the Port Manager, Festus Olumati during the official visit of the Managing Director of NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko penultimate Saturday, to Calabar Port.
According to Olumati, between January to May, 2022, vessel traffic into Calabar Port recorded high returns with huge corresponding increase in the revenue of the authority.
He said, “within the period under review, ship traffic into Calabar Port recorded high returns. No of vessels received were 72 while the Gross Register Tonnage (GRT) is 1,611,441 and a cargo throughput of 990,154.
“The cargo turn around time is 4 days per ship with 16 container TEUs and 15 percent berth occupancy.”
He, however, disclosed that the port generated $6.6m and N646m generated in local currency.
“Sir, it might interest you to know that these improvements in our modest efforts had a huge corresponding increases in the port’s revenue intakes. From January to May 2022, our revenue growth earnings increased as follows: revenue generated in dollars, $6.6million; actual revenue in dollars collected, $5.8million; revenue generated in naira is N646million and the revenue collected in naira is N309.2million
The Calabar Port Manager, also disclosed that Calabar Port Complex has been reconnected to the national grid as the management has resolved the frosty relationship between the NPA, Calabar Port Complex and the Calabar Electricity Distribution Company (CEDC).
According to him, that has reduced daily operational cost in the Port, “Sir, since I assumed office as Port Manager, Calabar Port, my Management Team and I have conscientiously worked with a dedicated target of delivering on our mandate. These concerted efforts have yielded modest positive impacts on our overall operations and finances in particular.
“Permit me to intimate you and your team that under my watch, the frosty relationship between the Port and Calabar Electricity Distribution Company (CALEDC) which led to the disconnection of the Port from the National Grid and total reliance on diesel Generators to power the Complex, resulting in very high running cost, have been resolved. Calabar Port is now enjoying electricity Supply from the National Grid which has reduced daily operational cost in the Port.”
“Similarly too, the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) whose relationship with the Port got soured some years now due to some marked misunderstanding, have now been resolved and Corps members are now being posted to the Port for their one year Primary assignment.”
“These seamless power supply coupled with improved working environment propelled the recording of higher returns in the last five months (January to May 2022) in terms of accruable earnings.”
In an exclusive chat, however, one of the concessionaires at the Calabar Port proposed a 30 per cent rebate for shippers as a means of attracting more patronage-liners to the port apart from the dredging conundrum that has persisted for years. He said rebate is a palliative in the interim pending when the dredging is done so that ”When they(liners) do their profitability analysis, the will have reason to come to Calabar Port. One of the reasons they are not coming is that they feel like even if they had to come, it is costlier, so can you help to reduce the cost? You can by introducing rebate like 30 per cent, so that by the time they make their economic analysis it will make sense”.
If 30 per cent rebate was obtainable before the port was concessioned why not adopt the same winning model especially when the pre-concession challenges that necessitated the rebate still persist?