Efforts by the Nigerian Ports Authority |(NPA) to improve vessel traffic to the eastern ports have continued to yield positive results as the Rivers Port in Port Harcourt is expecting its first Roll on/Roll off (RoRo) operations in the next few weeks.
The first RoRo Vessel to berth in the history of the Rivers Port is scheduled to depart the United States of America in the middle of March and arrive Port Harcourt in April.
General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, Nigerian Ports Authority, Jatto Adams, who confirmed this in a statement, said this is a milestone in the history of Rivers Port and the whole of the Eastern Ports.
He said the introduction of RoRo operations would in no small measure increase the revenue base of Rivers Port in particular and NPA as a whole.Adams said the achievement is traceable to intentional commitment and landmark reforms that the current management of the NPA had instituted towards ensuring that all ports in Nigeria are optimally functional.
He said numerous steps had been taken by the authority to drive vessel traffic to the eastern ports. These include: the introduction of 10 per cent discount on harbour dues on some categories of cargoes berthing at the eastern ports, the dredging of Escravos Channel in Warri, and the deployment of equipment and machinery to improve operational efficiency.
Others are: constant engagement with stakeholders towards achieving industrial harmony and peaceful co-existence; conversations with shipping companies; which saw the deployment of flat bottom vessels to Calabar; working with the Nigerian Navy, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, (NIMASA); and the Port Police Command to combat crimes on the nation’s waterways as well as engaging with the Federal Ministry of Works to ensure the rehabilitation of roads access to and from ports in the region.
He assured of the authority’s commitment to ensuring that all ports in Nigeria operate at maximum capacity to the advantage of all Nigerians. RoRo vessels are usually loaded with automobiles. The Rivers port has never hosted any RoRo vessel since the concession of port in 2006, as part the Federal Government reforms giving way to Private Sector Participation (PSP) in port operations.