Stakeholders Call For Dredging Of Calabar Port
By Grace Samuel
Stakeholders in the maritime industry are calling on the government to dredge Calabar Port in order to improve its efficiency.
According to the Managing Director of ECM Terminals, Dayo Balogun, dredging the port will have significant economic benefits for the country.
Balogun, who made the call during a chat with newsmen recently, stated that investing in Calabar’s dredging could be beneficial, as it would alleviate the cost and inconvenience faced by importers in these regions when retrieving containers from Lagos.
He said: “Calabar is currently the closest port to the Northeast, making it strategically positioned for economic activities. Unfortunately, Douala in Cameroon has as its primary market the Northeastern part of Nigeria. Consequently, cargo passing through Douala results in revenue leakage from Nigeria to Cameroon.
“The port, besides its proximity to the Northeast, is also close to commercial hubs like Aba and Onitsha. The pertinent question is what percentage of Nigeria’s cargo is directed toward the Northeast, Northwest, and Southeast primary and secondary markets for eastern ports”?
Also, Biodun Gbadamosi, a former General Manager of Western Ports of NPA, echoed the need for designated ports and called for the government to prioritize rail connectivity to the ports for efficient cargo evacuation.
He also urged the government to intensify efforts to ensure rail connectivity to ports for easy cargo evacuation.
“Calabar Port has its virtues as a lighter terminal and should be designated as such. However, its upgrade is limited by nature. Any undue investment would probably result in a negative return on investment.
“There is also the need to consider the cargo throughput. In this case, the government’s seriousness towards railway transportation in and out of such ports along with a standard road network is important,” he stated.
The port’s proximity to the northeast, as well as other commercial hubs like Aba and Onitsha, makes it strategically important for economic activities. Currently, cargo passing through Douala in Cameroon leads to revenue leakage from Nigeria to Cameroon.
The Calabar Port has its advantages as a lighter terminal and should be recognized as such. However, its potential for improvement is naturally limited. Any excessive investment is likely to have a negative return on investment.
The plan should focus on expanding the range of shipping activities in terms of scale, volume, and possibly limited incentives.He also emphasized the importance of considering the cargo throughput.
In this regard, the government’s commitment to railway transportation to and from ports, as well as the presence of a reliable road network, is crucial.