The Managing Director of Hull Blyth Nigeria Limited, Mr. Christian Holm, has given more explanations into why his company facilitated the first call of a containership to Calabar Port in 15 years.
While addressing members of the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee investigating why Warri, Port Harcourt, Calabar and Onne Ports are not being put to maximum use, Holm said Hull Blyth, which is the shipping agent to Marguisa Lines, owners of the containership, ”MN Boreas”, facilitated the visit of the ship in order to open up trade and businesses activities in the eastern ports.
He added: “The vessel made its first call to the port on September 22, 2019. We are excited about the willingness of Marguisa Lines to invest in the port and in the new service, and all the new opportunities that opens up for trade and development in Calabar and beyond, now that the port is connected with a global container liner service.”
Holm, however, identified undeveloped infrastructure, shallow water drafts, poor road infrastructure and insecurity as factors hindering large vessels from calling the ports outside Lagos.
According to him, port complexes outside Lagos “have not been upgraded in accordance with modern seaborne trade”.
“This relates especially to containerized trade, where the requirements for sizeable port container yards and related handling equipment are not met,” he said.
The MD also said that water depth in rivers to the ports as well as alongside the quays have not been dredged or maintained, thereby giving rise to shallow drafts.
“The shallow drafts prevent access of average sized vessels to the ports, and shipping companies must instead deploy smaller tonnage which cannot provide economic transportation to most shippers.
“Road infrastructure to connect the ports with the importers and exporters’ places of business lack maintenance and may often be unmotorable. Delivery and distribution of shipping goods thus become uneconomic or even impossible.