Eze celebrates resurging eastern ports with Maersk Lines calling at Onne as Calabar received PMS

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By Codratus Godson

A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and National Publicity Secretary of the defunct New People’s Democratic Party (nPDP), Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, has called out the region to celebrate the return of glory to eastern ports. Eze said n a statement that came only as a result of robust policy frame work and implementation by both te president and minister of transportation.

Eze made this observation in a statement made available to media houses in the South-South region of Nigeria. He congratulated Mohammadu Buhari’s presidency for achieving yet another milestone in the development and expansion of ports to boost economic activities through a robust system of international trade.

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Eastern ports are seen to have remained in high spirits and excitement since Maersk Lines began berthing at the Onne Port few months ago while the Port Harcourt and Calabar ports continued to receive many ships with Calabar receiving premium motor spirit (PMS) deliveries.

This has continued to lift the spirits of the business community, importers and manufacturers, as well as public analysts and business commentators as excitement sweeps through the region.

Maersk Line is indicated as a Danish international container shipping line and the largest operating subsidiary of the Maersk Group, which began cargo shipping in 1928. Its presence in any port is seen as a huge endorsement, and thus elicits excitement.

Observers said West African Container Terminal (WACT) has now become the preferred container terminal outside of the Lagos area, and is now fast gaining reputation as the gateway to eastern Nigeria and the alternative to the ports in Lagos.

Witnesses in Calabar highlighted that there was excitement among stakeholders at the Calabar Port Complex following the recent delivery of four shiploads of PMS to the port. They said the successful berthing of the four vessels was a feat that had never happened in the past 30 years. They said the feat followed some new initiatives put in place by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to revive the ports in eastern Nigeria and also boost trade in that axis.

The move according to Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Managing Director, Hadiza Bala-Usman, is said to decongest the two ports in Lagos; the Lagos Ports Complex and the Tin-Can Island Ports.

Business leaders and public analysts especially supporters of the Minister of Transportation have therefore been jubilating, saying whereas the entire world was being ravaged economically since the advent of the Cobid-19 pandemic, President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, have done something big for eastern ports.

One of those who issued a statement to this effect is Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State and strong Amaechi supporter who described the feat as another milestone in the development and expansion of ports to boost economic activities through a robust system of international trade.

He said: “President Buhari has executed this major feat through the leadership and foresight of the  Minister of Transportation whose commitment to service delivery is yielding tremendous results in all spheres of the economy and national life.

“All wise leaders know that as you fight the deadly pandemic, you also keep an eye on the economy and any opportunity that can happen despite the crisis, because after rain comes sunshine”.  .

Eze said Rivers State has thus made history as the first Maersk lines service has berthed in Onne, directly from China, coupled with the feat of the Calabar Port in Cross Rivers State taking delivery of four shiploads of PMS to help in decongesting Lagos, first in 30 years. This calls for celebration, events that past administrations couldn’t achieve.

Throwing more light on this historical feat, Eze recalled that the WACT received the first Maersk’s direct service container ship from Far East at the Onne Port in Rivers State. “The vessel, a gearless 4,800 24-feet Equivalent Unit (TEU) capacity carrier, sailed into Onne Port with Maersk Line flagship under its FEW3 service, thereby becoming the first Maersk vessel to call at Onne Port without first calling at any other port.

Eze further quoted the WACT’s Commercial Manager, Noah Sheriff, as saying “It is important to note that this new service will call WACT Onne weekly, coupled with the benefit of a short transit time for cargo coming from Far East. This is a product many customers have been asking, and we at WACT shall ensure that we turn these vessels around quickly,”

Eze said the feat calls for celebration as this is one of the largest vessels that ever called directly at Onne without calling at Lagos. Both ports have over the years been over-stretched beyond capacity, a development that got the two biggest cargo ports massively congested while those in the east, including Calabar, were grossly under-utilised, thus giving rise to the need for some reforms.”

The analyst emphasised that the milestone became possible after a N3Bn investment in mobile habour cranes was made to upgrade the port. “Maersk had announced that containers from China to Niger/Delta and South-East will now go directly to Onne.”

Commenting on the benefits of these initiatives, stakeholders said the development would revive the ports and create jobs for the teeming unemployed Niger Delta and South-East youths. He added that it would boost economic activities and improve the economies of Rivers, Cross River States and other Niger Delta and South East states, considering the huge opportunity it presents.

Others who preferred to remain anonymous said this has shown that if Nigerians rally round their leadership, the solidarity would bring about bigger investments and economic prosperity for the good of all. “It also shows that this son of the South-South and South-East needs more support to do more for the region. Love him or hate him, he is the one now in a key economic sector and must be supported to get the most for his people.”

Eze said: As countries of the world continue to battle the ravaging Covid-19 pandemic which emergence has halted economies and economic activities of nations, the administration of President Mohammadu Buhari is taking very proactive and informed steps towards ensuring that the pandemic does not shatter the economy of Nigeria.

He congratulated Mohammadu Buhari’s presidency for achieving yet another milestone in the development and expansion of ports to boost economic activities through a robust system of international trade. “President Buhari has executed this major feat through the leadership and foresight of the Hon. Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, whose commitment to service delivery is yielding tremendous results in all spheres of the economy and national life.

“All wise leaders know that as you fight the deadly pandemic, you also keep an eye on the economy and any opportunity that can happen despite the crisis, because after rain comes sunshine”. The party chief submitted.

Chief Eze said, through the efforts of the President Buhari-led Federal Government and the initiative of the amiable, workaholic, and competent Minister of Transportation, Rivers State, has made history as the first Maersk lines service has berthed in Onne directly from China coupled with the feat of the Calabar Port in Cross Rivers State taking delivery of four shiploads of PMS to help in decongesting Lagos, first in 30 years. This calls for celebration, events that past administrations couldn’t achieve.

Describing the Minister as a seasoned administrator with a mastery in timely service  delivery for public good, the party chief encouraged Amaechi to remain committed as his custom is, to the service of the nation and all of humanity.

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