There was excitement among stakeholders at the Calabar Port Complex following the recent delivery of four shiploads of premium motor spirit, otherwise known as petrol, to the port.
The successful berthing of the four vessels 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 was to decongest the two ports in Lagos, the Lagos Ports Complex and the Tin-Can Island Ports.
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.
Statistics released by the Authority from the Shipping Position of the Calabar Pilotage District for Wednesday, May 13, 2020 showed that the port was expecting a total of four shiploads of PMS, totalling 53,574 metric tonnes of the product.
Also being expected at the port were one shipload of bulk gypsum, one shipload of bulk wheat and another shipload of low pour fuel oil (LPFO), also known as black oil.
Details of the statistics showed that MT Levanto, which was expected to arrive at the port on May 15, 2020, would discharge a total of 8,500 metric tonnes of PMS at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) jetty, while MT Sea Pearl, which was expected to have arrived at the port on May 15, 2020, would discharge a total of 15,000 metric tonnes.
Others included MT Zee Zee, which arrived at the port on May 13, 2020, laden with 15,074 metric tonnes of the cargo, while MT Safe Sea, also laden with 15,000 metric tonnes of petrol, was expected to have arrived at the port on May 15, 2020. MV Arcadia, scheduled to arrive at the port on May 16, was expected to discharge 16,370 metric tonnes of bulk wheat.
Meanwhile, Pool Anchorage was expected to have discharged 15,000 metric tonnes of gypsum, while MV Turning Basin, was expected to have arrived at the port on May 15, 2020 with a total of 15,000 metric tonnes of LPFO.
The management of the NPA had recently approved a 10 per cent discount on harbour dues in all concession terminals for all containers, general cargo, combo and Roll On-Roll-Off vessels that call at the eastern ports, in line with efforts to increase patronage of the ports.
This incentive, which is for vessels calling at the Calabar, Rivers and Delta ports, was also part of deliberate moves to reduce over-concentration of cargo in the two seaports in Lagos, which facilities have been overstretched with the attendant congestion both on the roads and at the terminals.
Under the new harbour fee regime, the 10 per cent discount, which took effect last year, will only be applicable to harbour dues payable by container vessels with, at least, 250 Twenty Equivalent Units (TEUs.)
Some categories of vessels are excluded from the incentive. Such vessels include those coming INBALLAST (vessels coming empty), probably to pick cargo, and vessels calling at private jetties.