The Calabar Port Complex, located in Cross Rivers State has received its maiden Marguisa Shipping Line’s container vessel, several years after its concession.
The port has suffered patronage of container liners due to draft limitations on the channel. Currently, Calabar channel has a draft of 6.4 meters at high tide, but requires Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) to complete the dredging to the advertised draft of 9.4 meters to attract regular and bigger tonnage.
But the berthing of the MV Boreas in Calabar signified a milestone achieved through the strategic marketing of Ecomarine Terminals Limited, a terminal concessionaire in Calabar port.
The vessel has length of 116.23 meters, Gross Tonnage of 6569 and Net Tonnage of 2874.
Built in 2007, the vessel working for a Spain based Marguisa, came with both laden and empty containers and securely anchored at ECM Terminals at about 13.27 HRS.
The General Manager, ECM, Diran Akorede, who confirmed this in a statement said, “The berthing of the container vessel at our facility recently was the crowning moment of the several marketing efforts to attract a liner service to Calabar over the years.”
He acknowledged the partnership they have enjoyed with NPA over the years, especially the commitment of the Managing Director of NPA, Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman, who he noted from inception of her tenure has given priority attention to resolving some of the key challenges that have bedevilled the port.
He also emphasised the need for her to ensure the completion of the dredging.
According to him, “In October last year, we had preliminary discussion with Marguisa representative on possibility of commencing calls to Calabar. To make the call viable to Marguisa, we made several concessions on rates and co-opted other stakeholders into the efforts followed with road shows to sensitise potential clients. The maiden call of the vessel was the outcome of such efforts spearheaded by Ecomarine in conjunction with Marguisa,” he stated.
Akorede said, in preparation for receipt of container vessel, the terminal has invested massively on container handling equipment from inception of the concession most of which have been idle ever since.
“We are ISO certified and have well documented processes to ensure transparency and efficiency in our service delivery.
“Our systems are fully automated and the facility is fully ISPS compliant. We also have paved stacking area that has remained unutilised over the years.
“For us, we have been prepared from the inception and therefore handled the discharge operations in the best professional manner.
“As a port, our pact with Marguisa is to provide and ensure efficient service delivery, quick turnaround for their vessel and incentive scheme to support their voyage profitability. For us, the pact remains as long as the vessel continue to call our terminal,” he stated.
According to him, ECM Terminal is ready to receive more container vessels with its ultra-modern cargo handling equipment.
He said the Calabar Port has been plagued by the challenge of low draft due to dredging of the channel.
The ECM manager therefore urged NPA to urgently complete the dredging of the channel to the advertised draft of 9.4m to ease the difficulty in attracting container vessel to the terminal.
He also enjoined the ports authority to introduce a more effective incentive scheme such as the 30 per cent rebate hitherto in place before the concession.
To further facilitate patronage and easy evacuation of cargoes, he said the government should ensure quick completion of the road contract from Odukpani Junction through Ikot Ekpene to Aba, already awarded to Julius Berger.
Be Transparent, Yomi-Esan Tells Perm Secs, Directors
Olawale Ajimotokan and Udora Orizu in Abuja
The Acting Head of Service of the Federation (HoS), Dr. Mrs Folasade Yomi-Esan, has charged permanent secretaries and directors in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to be prudent and accountable in the management of public funds.
This, according to her, could be achieved through the establishment of stronger links between budgeting, planning and M & E for the completion of projects.
She made the appeal in a keynote address at an innovation conference themed: “Creating Opportunities by Leveraging Innovation for Effective Public Service Delivery and Diversification of the Economy.”
The conference was organised for federal Permanent Secretaries and Director Generals/Chief Executive Officers of agencies and parastatals and heads of tertiary institutions.
The acting HoS also announced the creation of a service innovation department to be headed by a Director and Service Innovation Units (SIUs) in all MDAs.
She noted that embarking on initiatives through the Project Management Team was to successfully build a robust foundation for innovation in the public service.
In addition, she announced the launch of innovation competitions across the MDAs.
According to her, at least one annual innovation challenge would be held to cultivate ideas and technologies, as well as for enhanced service delivery, efficiency and productivity in the public service.
She stressed that the service would set in motion an innovation campaign to raise awareness on innovation, by creating an online innovation network to showcase existing innovations in the service to foster knowledge sharing.
Yemi- Esan, described the public sector as the key driver of socio-economic development in the country that cannot afford to relegate its responsibility and must be alive and proactive in carrying out its functions for improved service delivery.
The office of the Head of Service in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), with the support of the Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS), last week held a two-day training on “Radical Innovation,” for civil servants across the service to equip the participants with requisite skills and knowledge to drive innovation in the public sector.
Also speaking at the event, the Vice Chairman, OPTS, Lorenzo Fiorillo, acknowledged the opportunity to support civil service in the provision of world class training programme, saying it would go a long way to support the civil service in achieving sustainable national development.
Air Peace Begins Flights to Warri
Nigeria’s major carrier, Air Peace has started flight operations from Lagos to Warri, Delta State.
The airline’s inaugural flight, which took off from the Murtala Muhammed Airport 2, Lagos at the weekend, touched down at the Osubi Airport, Warri at 11.15pm.
The Embraer ERJ 145 aircraft piloted by Capt. Crosby Otobo and Senior First Officer Usman, were welcomed with a water guard salute by firefighters stationed at the airport.
Air Peace Chief Executive Officer, Mr Allen Onyema, said the move by the airline to extend its operations to Warri was part of the its No City-Left-behind project.
Onyema, who was represented by the Manager, Ground Operations, Air Peace, Adeyemi Ayodeji, said Warri was the 16th city the airline would be flying into in Nigeria.
“We want to assure our passengers that this is just the beginning. We have plans to introduce flights from Warri to Port Harcourt and also from Warri to Abuja, ” he said.
Adeyemi, said the airline operates to five regional locations in West Africa (Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Gambia and Senegal) and had on July 5, 2019, began flight operations to Sharjah- Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
According to him, Mumbai in India and Guangzhou, China would soon come on board as part of the airline’s expansion on the international routes with its fleet of B777 aircraft. He said the flight to Warri would be once daily and assured the Air Peace passengers of on-time departure and safety, which were very key to the airline’s operations.
Receiving the airline’s officials were, the Chairman, Osubi Community, Paul Erugbenu and the Community Secretary, Comrade Williams Eyarunu who thanked Air Peace for extending their operations to the airport.
Also, passengers onboard the inaugural flight who were given gifts various items by Air Peace to mark the inaugural flight, expressed delight with the development noting that it would make the route more competitive for the airlines thereby reducing airfares.
Lagos Restates Commitment to Food Hygiene
The Lagos State Government has reiterated its commitment to ensure that edible items transported across the state are done in hygienic manner.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Gbolahan Lawal, made this known in statement signed by the Assistant Director, Public Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture, Lagos state Mr. Jide Lawal.
The commissioner made the remark while receiving members of the Lagos State Perishable Goods Dealers and Sellers Association of Lagos State.
Lawal, stated that the state government was interested in forming a sustainable synergy with all stakeholders in the agricultural sector.
“Government is committed towards fashioning out, along with members of the association, short and long term solutions to the inherent food transportation system in the state.
“Government will look at how the sector can be overseen in order to ensure productivity of the market and promised to further engage with the association by scheduling another meeting in order to address at length issues and concerns raised during the visit,” he said.
He noted that it would be irresponsible of any governments to turn a blind eye to the manner in which fruits and vegetables are being transported to and within the state.
The commissioner, called on members of Fruit Sellers Association, not to allow products transported in unsatisfactory manner into their markets, stressing that plans were in the pipeline to establish a farm produce market.
Earlier, the Consultant to the Perishable Goods Dealers and Sellers Association of Lagos State, Mr. Shola Olaleye, who led the delegation, sought the intervention of the state government in ensuring adequate space allocation to their members in the various markets across the State by the Local Government Areas (LGAs) and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs).
While admitting the strategic importance of Lagos as a depot for most farm produces from other states in the country.
He expressed the readiness of the association to support the state government in ensuring proper control of how goods are transported into the state.