The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has commenced test running of containers movement between the Onne Port in Rivers State, the Onitsha River port in Anambra and beyond.
NIWA’s Managing Director, Dr George Moghalu, explained the aim was to explore the potentials of inland water transportation among others.
The Ag. General Manager (Corporate Affairs), Jibril Darda’u, in a statement on Thursday in Lokoja, Kogi State, quoted Moghalu as saying that it is 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 from Onne to Onitsha by water successfully 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.
“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 the potentials of water transportation.
“It is also part of my commitment since assumption of duty, being 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 commence 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 the South East, create jobs and wealth for our teeming youths, reduce the bottleneck in clearing goods and save money wasted in transporting containers from different ports to the South East, decongest our ports in Lagos and reduce the pressure on our roads.”