The National Inland waterways Authority (NIWA) has commenced the test-running of containers movement between Onne Port in Rivers State, the Onitsha River Port in Anambra State and beyond. Dr. George Moghalu, NIWA’s managing director explained that reason includes exploring the potentials of inland water transportation, among other reasons. Moghalu described it as a milestone achievement for the international transportation system in Nigeria. He further expressed his optimism that the repair of Onitsha River Port would gather substantial business activities and generate employment opportunities. He said NIWA more than ever was determined to make more waterways navigable to ease marine transportation across the county.
A statement by NIWA’s acting General Manager (corporate affairs), Jibril Darda’u on Thursday in Lokoja quoted Moghalu as saying it is meant to ensure that the Onitsha port is fully functional after 42 years of its construction.
According to him: “The aim of the test-run is to break the jinx and encourage partnership with the Barge Operators Association, that it is possible to move containers successfully from Onne to Onitsha by water and Onitsha to Onne as well. This is the first phase of the test-run, and the second phase will be from the Lagos ports to Onitsha River port and from Onitsha to Lagos”.
He stated that “NIWA is giving exemplary leadership to investors that moving goods on the waterways is economically viable and safe so that investors can key in and benefit from the potentials of water transportation. It is also part of my commitment, since assumption of duty, to ensure that the Onitsha port is fully functional after 42 years of construction and commissioning in 2012 but not put to use. The exercise is in preparation for the full operation of the port, which will begin by the first quarter of 2021. There is no doubt that the full operation of the river port will boost economic activities in Anambra State and other Southeast states, create jobs and wealth for our teaming youths, reduce bottle necks in clearing goods and save money wasted in transporting containers from different ports to the Southeast, decongest our ports in Lagos and reduce the pressure on our roads.”
The Federal Government gave the assurance of robust maritime commercial transactions following the repair of the Onitsha River Port.