In order to draw patronage to abandoned eastern ports and ease perennial traffic gridlock in ports of Lagos, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) yesterday announced that vessels calling at Calabar, Rivers and Delta Ports would now enjoy 10% discount on harbour dues.
According to the agency, this is part of the efforts to increase patronage of the eastern ports.
In a statement signed by NPA General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, Jatto Adams, the NPA listed the types of vessels and cargoes that would enjoy the 10 per cent discount to include container vessels with at least 250 20-foot equivalent units, general cargo vessels with at least 16,000 metric tonnes, combo vessels with at least 16,000 MT, roll-on-roll-off vessels with at least 250 units of vehicles.
It stated, “These discounts shall not apply to vessels coming inballast (without any cargo), vessels calling at private jetties, and vessels calling carrying liquid bulk.”
NPA announced that the application of the incentive was with immediate effect.
The Federal Government is reported to have withdrawn the 30 per cent incentive granted to vessels calling at the eastern ports after the concession of the ports.
This shot up freight charges for the ports, more than for vessels calling at the Lagos ports.
As part of efforts to decongest Lagos ports and divert vessel traffic to the eastern ports, the Federal Government had in the past year made huge investments in the eastern ports to rehabilitate them and make them more attractive to importers.
The General Manager, Security at NPA, Iheanacho Ebubeogu, suggested a reduction in tariffs as part of the incentives to attract vessels to the eastern ports.
He said this would encourage effective utilisation of the ports because if cost differential between Lagos and the eastern ports was down by 30 per cent, importers would be attracted to use the ports.
“When I mean a review of tariff across the board, NPA tariff has to come down, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency should review its Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) tariff, Customs tariff should come down so that people can be motivated. I do not want us to think that addressing security alone will achieve this,” he said.