By George Odok Jr.
President Goodluck Jonathan, on Friday, said the Calabar Port had potential to boost economic activities in Cross River and neighboring states.
The President made the disclosure at the inauguration of dredging of the Calabar channel.
Represented by the Minister of Transport, Sen. Idris Umar, Jonathan said the dredging of the Calabar channel was a joint venture between the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) and Niger Global Engineering.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Calabar Port was established in 1979 to improve shipping activities and decongest other sea ports in the country.
The President said that the port had improved investment and trade opportunities in Cross River, Anambra, Abia, Enugu and Ebonyi states.
According to him, the port has made Calabar a business hub for trade and shipping activities in the country.
He said “on completion of this dredging, the seaport will witness huge traffic in business activities, thereby facilitating trade and increased revenue for the state.’’
Mr. Pieter Hekken, the Acting Managing Director of the Calabar Channel Management Operation, said the dredging came when there was renewed global interest in trade and investment in Nigeria’s maritime sector.
Hekken said that the dredging would address the quest by ship owners to have more dedicated ports that would play host to larger and deep drought vessels in international shipping trade.
According to him, the dredging will enable the NPA to develop its channels to promptly respond to global marine transport demands.
“The dredging will ensure safety of navigation, protection of marine environment and expeditious movement of vessels in and out of the ports.
“It will also ensure quick turnaround time and facilitate international shipping.’’
Gov. Liyel Imoke of Cross River said that the dredging of the channel would increase the revenue profile of the state.
Imoke commended President Jonathan for fulfilling his campaign promise to the people of Cross River, adding that the state’s economy depended on the dredging of the port to a significant extent.
He urged the joint dredging company to discharge their duties well to ensure successful completion of the dredging, adding that the contract has previously been awarded but no execution.
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