The Nigerian Chamber of Shipping (NCS) and the Onitsha Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ONICCIMA) have called on the Federal Government to resuscitate the Onitsha River Port.
The Directors-Generals of both chambers spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Tuesday.
They noted that the resuscitation of the port would serve as a buffer to the busy Lagos ports.
Ms Obiageli Obi, Director-General, Nigerian Chamber of Shipping said that the completion and inauguration of the port would create jobs and boost commerce in the maritime industry.
According to Obi, the port is centrally located in Onitsha, the business hub of Southeastern part of the country.
“The port is technically ready for business as it currently has some equipment such as gantry cranes, forklifts reach stackers, roll trailer, telescopic mobile crane and other facilities to aid shipping.
“The urgent operational challenges in the Western ports call for the urgent ways of maximising the economics of the Eastern ports with a view to improving the lot of the shipping public and grow the nation’s earnings,’’ she said.
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Obi said that the quick rehabilitation of the cargo handling equipment in the port; the gangway and other facilities would place the port in a good capacity to meet the needs of those in the East.
She noted that the port, if completed, would enhance the frontiers and fortunes of trade in the Eastern part of the country.
The director-general, who was among maritime experts that recently examined the Eastern ports, noted that the revival of the port would take the pressure off the Lagos ports.
The Director-General of ONICIMMA, Mr Augustine Okeafor, said the port would relieve the nation’s roads constantly battered.
Okeafor said the port was capable of absorbing cargo as 40 per cent of cargo coming into Lagos ports ended up in Eastern markets.
NAN reports that the Federal Government is committed toward ensuring that the Onitsha inland waterways and others across the country are viable and functional.
Government is making efforts to finalise the concession of Onitsha River Port to make it work. (NAN)