From Aloysius Attah, Onitsha

The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Anambra State office, has decried the non maximisation of the potential of the Onitsha River Port commissioned by the former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in 2018.

Stakeholders at a seminar organised by the Onitsha Area Office, South East zone of the NSC were unanimous in agreeing that the Onitsha River Port holds immense potential for business growth in the South East.

With the theme “Optimising the potentials of Onitsha River Port: Stakeholders perspectives and Prospects”, the Executive Secretary, NSC,  Akuta Ukeyima, represented by the zonal director for the South East, Mrs. Margaret Ogbonna, observed the need for the dredging of the river Niger so cargo can come in, saying that 70 percent of cargo that comes in through Port Harcourt ends up in Onitsha as it is the centre of commerce and trade.

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She said the sensitisation programme was significant pointing out that shippers who wish to benefit from the port must register and obtain licences as it won’t be business as usual again. Mrs. Ogbonna reiterated the importance of online registration for users of the Onitsha River Port as it holds immense potential for businesses and the state’s economic transformation.

Anambra State Commissioner for Transport, Mrs. Patricia Igwebuike, called for a collaborative effort to make the Port functional, highlighting its economic importance to the state.

Chairman of the occasion, who is also the former president of Onitsha Chamber of Commerce,  Chris Ukachukwu , a pharmacist said importers and exporters in the southeast  have a lot to gain by exploring the potentials of the Onitsha River Port.   He lamented various efforts made to draw business activities to the River Port which have not materialised to fruition.

President, Anambra State Shippers Association, Mr. Emma Akpaka, explained their efforts to draw patronage for the Onitsha River Port, saying that the success story of the port will only be complete when importers and exporters begin to patronize the port.