THE management of Calabar Seaport, under the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA), has given assurance that the port is active, well equipped and has the capacity to handle vessels for importers and exporters within the catchment area.
The Port Manager, Chief Festus Olumati, gave the assurance yesterday when he played host to the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Cross River Council.
Olumati, who dispelled the impression in some quarters that the Calabar Port was dead or ill-equipped to render the expected services, noted that recently the Port had handled vessels that came with 204 heavy-duty trucks, 22 cubic metres of pipes and other containers.
He said they have also handled export of palm kernel from the state and a lot is being put in place in order to handle more of such as well as encourage importers within the seaport catchment area for patronage.
Emphasising on the effectiveness of the Calabar Port, he disclosed that the Federal Government was investing in more equipment and clearing encumbrances that had affected the port in the past.
He said effort had been made to ensure that importers nearby patronised the port.
According to him, “the port is still viable and of economic benefit to the state and to Nigeria and it is safe for berthing, hence the need for customers to patronise it to clear their general containers.
“We have installed 36 buoys to give proper direction to vessels coming into the port and also security boat and marine police have been approved for the port.”
He said the port management was not resting and was in talks with stakeholders to increase and record more patronage.
“We have resumed discussions with importers in Aba, Nnewi and other places to make them see the need why they should start patronising Calabar Port.
“Export Processing Zone was built in Calabar because of this Port and not because of Port Harcourt.
“It will make more meaning for importers around here to patronise Calabar Port instead of Lagos or Port Harcourt,” he stated.
On dredging of the Port, he said that would resume once the issues around it was settled out of court.
The state NUJ Chairman, Mr Nsa Gill, had promised the management of the Port that journalists would be fair and just in their reportage of port activities, but required timely and more access to information about developments.