By: Kingsley Agim

Cross River Commissioner for Commerce, Mrs. RoseMary Archibong has restated the commitment of the Governor Ben Ayade-led administration to putting the Calabar Port on the global marine transportation map.

Mrs. Archibong, who made this known during a recent facility tour of Eco Marine Terminal of the Calabar Port, Calabar, also stated that the essence of the visit was to have a firsthand knowledge of the operations at the terminal.

Decrying the negative perception and the under-utilization of commercial opportunities of the Port, Mrs. Archibong lamented that revenue that ought to have been accruing to the State was lost.

The Commerce Commissioner posited that it was in anticipation of the industrial revolution of Cross River State that Governor Ayade embarked on the Deep Seaport Project in Bakassi, with a 20 metres draught to receive grandmother vessels, which would take maritime business to utmost heights. This, she explained, was to be complemented by the already existing  Calabar Port which would be actively receiving smaller vessels with its 4-5 metres draught.

A combination of these, she averred, would no doubt boost trade, create  employment, increase revenue generation and herald economic prosperity for Cross Riverians and residents of the State.
She further commended ECM Terminals Limited for its operations in keeping the Port lively, while emphasising that aggressive advocacy on the comparative advantages of transacting maritime business via the Calabar Port is extremely expedient.

“One of the tourist attractions and commercial landmarks – the Ayade Industrial Park – houses the Rice Seed and Seedlings Factory, Poultry Slaughterhouse, Noodles Factory, Garment Factory, Pharmaceutical Company, as well as Sack Bag Production Factory. We also have the Piles and Pylons Factory in Akamkpa, Toothpick Factory in Ekori – Yakurr, Cocoa Processing Factory in Ikom, Ultra-modern Rice Mill in Ogoja and a host of other industries spread across the State. These industries would produce and market exportable commodities to the world; hence the need to partner with stakeholders in the marine transport sector, beginning with Eco Marine Terminals Limited,” she remarked.

In his remarks, the General Manager, Eco Marine Terminal Limited, Mr. Diran Akorede, expressed delight at the “timely visit,” noting that concessionaires at the Port had long envisaged the State Government coming to know the operations of the Calabar Port.

Mr. Akorede said the Calabar Port which has remained fully operational over the decades, is only beset by inadequate publicity, while hoping that the visit of a representative of the State Government will aid in publicizing activities of the Port even farther than their expectations.

The Terminal Operator, who debunked the purported piracy issues along the channel, also stated that the Calabar Port is deep enough and had berthed flat bottom vessels as big as 200mtr LOA (length over all), hence calling on the business public to take advantage of the enormous opportunities the Port offers, especially its proximity to the northern and south-eastern parts of the country.

He assured that his company will continue to collaborate with the State Government and the Nigeria Ports Authority to ensure that the Calabar Port continues to be operational.

Also speaking, Mr. Larry Idehen of Shoreline Logistics Limited averred that the Calabar Port, in spite of its peculiarity in terms of nautical mileage, remains one of the safest in the country, whilst acknowledging the efforts of the Nigerian Navy in maintaining maritime safety.

Mr. David Etim from the Calabar Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (CALCCIMA) and the Managing Director, Bright Flow Logistics, Mrs. Anie Iton, respectively spoke on the vast openings that abound in the maritime business, calling on Cross Riverians to tap into a sector, they described as “productive.”

Highpoints of the event were a tour of the Terminal B of the Calabar Port and a play of a clip highlighting the Port’s key strengths, unique value proposition, performances, as well as its contiguity to the northern and south-eastern parts of the country.
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