By Ijendu Iheaka
Aba – The Nigerian Shippers Council on Thursday said Abia Government’”s failure to fulfill its obligations was responsible for delay in the commencement of work in Isiala Ngwa dry port.
The Director of the council, South East, Mr Winner Anayo, disclosed this at a Regional Dialogue on Policy Development Facility (PDF) in Abia.
PDF is a flexible, rapid-response programme funded by the UK Aid Department for International Development (DFID) targeted at providing support for Nigeria’s champions of change in government to implement economic and social reforms.
The theme of the session for the South East dialogue is “Improving Trade Competitiveness and Business Environment in the South East“.
Anayo, was responding to calls for update on the Inland Container Depot (ICD) by the Special Adviser to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu on Public Communications, Mr Sam Hart, during the session.
He said the state government was yet to provide infrastructure such as roads other obligations for the project.
Anayo, who stressed the state government’s contribution to the delay, said concessionaires also added to the delay.
The director, while responding to the call for Onitsha river port to be a designated a port of origin and destination, said it could not be done now until the river is dredged.
He said the agency operating the Onitsha river port was only using it as a bonded terminal pending further development of the port.
Anayo said the cost of transporting goods from China to Apapa port was cheaper than from Apapa to Onne port because of violence and militancy.
“The major problem we have with moving goods to eastern ports is that in modern shipping, shipping companies use large vessels and most of them cannot come to the ports.
“So, by the time they get to Lagos, they have to transship, using to flat bottom vessels to bring the cargo to Port Harcourt port.
“But again, because of insecurity in the Niger Delta, most of the shipping companies are imposing what they call multi-risk surcharges.
“They do this because most of the sea men will not want to come to Port Harcourt until you pay extra charges as they regard the area as a war zone.
“That is the problem. So, we should begin to talk to our youths to reduce militancy activities for businesses to thrive in this area,” Anayo said.