Bakassi Deep Seaport: The Catalyst For Economic Transformation BY EMMANUEL ETIM

In Breaking News, Business & Economy, Columnists, National News, Opinion, Reports

By CrossRiverWatch Admin

The signing of the Bakassi deep Seaport transaction advisory service contract with Feedback infrastructure service marks a major milestone in the strategic action towards the realization of the vision for the construction of one of the signature projects of the Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade Administration of Cross River State, Nigeria.

In the preceeding week, the the governor had also signed the contract agreement with China Harbour for the comencement of preliminary work at the Bakassi Deep Sea Port.

These efforts demonstrate clearly the passion the governor has for driving his dream, of transforming the economy of the state, to fruition in the shortest possible time and bringing development to his people.

The Deep sea port which is to be located in Bakassi in Cross River State, Nigeria is conceived to be the catalyst for the transformation of the civil service oriented economy of the state which southern boarder is washed by the Atlantic Ocean.

Cross River State, Nigeria is blessed with potentials in Agriculture and Mineral resources with productive human capital that makes it potentially the richest state in the West African country of Nigeria.

Beyond the rich Agricultural and mineral potentials, the geographical location of the southern state makes it offer the shortest distance, in terms of access to the sea, for the land locked northern states and countries north of Nigeria.

The importance of the sea port and water transportation for the importation and exportation of goods cannot be over emphasized. Herein lies the economic wisdom in the construction of the deep sea port in the state.

In an earlier treatise, I had established thus, “It is common knowledge that the existing ports in Nigeria, especially Apapa and Tin Can Ports in the Lagos axis, are overstretched with the attendant inordinate delays in cargo handling and processing. With capacity for 60 million metric tonnes of cargo handling, the ports run at 100 million metric tonne.”

“The construction of the Bakassi Deep Sea Port will thus increase the volume of vessel traffic and cargo coming through Cross River State, decongest Lagos and Onne ports and reduce cost of doing business for Calabar-based businesses who spend additional transport cost to take delivery of their consignments in Lagos and Onne ports.”

A few stakeholders have asked, “Why a new port when there is already a seaport in the state?” The answer is simple:

The shallow nature of the water channel of the existing port in Calabar has made it impossible for bigger vessels to sail through, thus contributing to the under-utilization of the Calabar Port. The draft at approach of the Calabar channel is 6.4 meters at high tide and 5.4 meters at low tide. The acceptable draft for small ports is at least nine meters.

The Bakassi Deep Sea Port is planned to have a draft of 21 meters making it the deepest in the West African Country, Nigeria. With such draft, it is expected that it will become the preferred deep seaport in the Nigeria.

The global scramble for deep seaports is linked to the increasing embrace by maritime architects and engineers of very large carriers, which are considered “economical vessels”. Bakassi Deep Sea port offers the perfect solution then for Nigeria’s growing economy.

The project is also expected to create thousands of jobs for the citizens, generate revenue for the state and serve as a channel of international trade between Nigeria and the rest of the world.

The vision of the amiable governor of the state, Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade is to ensure that production in the state is improved such that every inbound vessel is assured of outbound cargo in the form of Agriculture products, raw materials and finished products.

This is the reason the administration is putting a lot of effort in expanding commercial Agriculture, mineral exploration and exploitation and industrialization.

The governor, Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade is in advanced stages in the construction of a 270 km Super Highway from Bakassi to Katsina Ala, which when completed will serve as an evacuation corridor for the Bakassi Deep Sea Port.

What is required then is the support and cooperation of citizens and residents of Cross River State even as the state government creates strategies for these categories of people to benefit maximally from the emerging opportunities.

Emmanuel Etim is SSA to Governor Ayade of Cross River State.

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