The Shippers Association of Lagos State (SALS) says dredging of the Onitsha River Port key for optimal utilisation and concession benefits.
President SALS, Rev. Jonathan Nicole, disclosed on Tuesday in Lagos.
Nicole spoke against the backdrop of the concessioning of Onitsha River Port by the Federal Government to Messrs Universal Elysium Consortium for 30 years.
The Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) on Feb. 3 said that the Federal Executive Council had given approval for the concession of the Onitsha River Port.
According to the acting Head, Media and Publicity, ICRC, Manji Yarling, the Federal Government will generate over N50 billion from the 30-year concession of the Onitsha River Port.
Yarling said the concession was approved under a rehabilitate, operate and transfer (ROT) arrangement.
Nicole added that the dredging would make waterways and port navigable and as well assist coastal protection.
“The river port also has a natural phenomena during dry season, the river is filled with sand during the period.
“We believe all of these have been put into consideration before the concession for 30 years. Nothing is impossible to do when the time comes.
“The concession agreement has not yet been made public for us to see if cargo owners using the port will be given concessions due to navigational delays, security and safety to cargo.
“We congratulate the concessioners and wish them the best of luck in their huge investments for 30 years,” he said.
Nicole, however, noted that the port was strategic for transporting goods to the southeast from Lagos, Port Harcourt and its environs.
He urged the Anambra State Government to provide the enabling environment for port duties in Ontisha.
“Presently, the Onitsha port is not functional at all because people will not like to risk their goods through routes that are not navigational.
“It takes two weeks or more to move containers from Lagos to Onitsha by road, while it will take less than three days by water, this is more economical and so the plan is a welcome one.
“We are looking at a difficult situation being solved by a group of business men in Onitsha port and that is good for them,” he said.