- Frees Up Direct Route From China
Containers arrive Onitsha port for the first time in 42 years, after the commissioning of the port on Sunday by the MD/CEO, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Chief Dr George Moghalu.
The Onitsha Port, which is regarded as an economic gateway of Anambra and the South East— has been opened to reduce the burden of transporting containers from Lagos ports and Port Harcourt port to the South-East.
South east traders and other stakeholders have described as a welcome development the decision of the Federal government to relocate cargos to Onitsha Inland Port as part of the measures to decongest the Lagos port.
According to Tolu Ogunlesi, special assistant to the president on digital and new media, Maersk is now (starting 2020) sending container ships direct from China to the Onne Port, without the need to first call at Lagos.
“Now, when the ship berths in Onne, it will be offloaded and the containers going to Onitsha Port will be barged down,” he tweeted.
“The Plan is to move containers from Lagos & Onne Ports to Onitsha by barge. For now I believe what’s being done is testing. You need to do a pilot first, assess efficiency, do troubleshooting etc, before you roll out full operations. But if it works as planned it’s gon be a BFD!,” Ogunlesi added.
Many have speculated that the multiplier effects of the development on the southeast region will be huge.
Foreseen advantages include; reduction in the cost of transporting goods and job creation. The development might also reduce the number of road accidents and hours travellers spend in traffic due to the activities of truck drivers.
Meanwhile, The National Inland Waterways, NIWA, recently said that the Onitsha River Port would commence full operation by the first quarter of 2021.
This was disclosed by the Area Manager of NIWA Area Office Onitsha, Anambra State, Mrs Queen Uba during an interactive session in September with newsmen in Onitsha.
She said that NIWA has been making frantic efforts toward full operation of a port in the South East since Dr George Moghalu assumed office.
She also disclosed that the commencement of operation of Onitsha River Port was being put on hold due to the ongoing concessioning process.