Chief Executive Officer, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), George Moghalu, said with the functioning of Onitsha Port, the economic gateway of Anambra and the South East economy have been opened.
He said that it will reduce unnecessary and avoidable expenses for transporting containers from Lagos ports and Port Harcourt port to South-East.
Moghalu, disclosed this in NIWA office, Onitsha during the commisioning of Onitsha Port.
He said, “it is obvious that my aim and commitment to bringing functions to Onitsha Port is no longer a mirage and elusive as many thought.
”My good intentions as an Anambra-born MD of NIWA are to make the port operational in order to boost economic activities in Anambra State and South East, create jobs and wealth, improve ease of doing business, give South East sense of belonging, reduce bottles necks in clearing goods and save monies wasted in transporting containers from different ports to the Southeast has been achieved and it is recorded in history today that containers are arriving in batches to this port after 42 years”.
Moghalu also declared that making Nigeria’s waterways navigable is key to reducing the pressure on our roads as most of the containers can be moved to their destinations safely by water.
“if our waterways are navigable and open, we can go by water, not by road. It is this aspect that drew my attention to the fact that the pressure we have on our road today can very well be avoided.
”For example, if 1,000 containers are coming from Apapa port and if half or even 70 per cent is going to end in the Southeast- Onitsha, Aba, or what have you — what that means is that 500 or 700 trailers will be on the road”, he said.
”It has taken both economic and political will to fully make the Onitsha River Port functional in order to tap from its huge economic benefits to businesses located in the commercial cities of Onitsha, Nnewi and Aba, and save the economy the burdened cost of transporting goods from Lagos to Eastern Nigeria.
”This will not only save businesses money that is put into cargo clearance per container, as haulage cost of transporting cleared consignment from Lagos ports to the states in the East, but will also help to decongest the already stretched Lagos ports.
He explained that activities in Onitsha Port will create massive employment for the youths and also add values to the state’s economy.
”When it is developed and opened, lots of ships will be navigating the Onitsha-Lokoja axis, some unemployed youths who may be engaged in negative activities like kidnapping will be engaged.
“The revamping of Onitsha riverport is one outstanding project yearning for attention for many years now. The politics that started in 1980 has ended.
This project is going to engage the unemployed youths in Anambra State and South East. The opportunities that are attached to this project is immeasurable.”