7,000 Metric Tonnes of Cocoa beans has been shipped from the ECM Terminal at the Calabar Seaport in Cross River to the United States of America, 14 years after.
Soeaking at the event in Calabar, Mr Adeyemi Adeniji, the Managing Director of Starlink Global & Ideal Limited, the Nigerian export company, stated that the cocoa beans were sourced from Ikom local government area of Cross River, which constituted a factor in utilizing the Calabar Port.
Adeyemi, who stated that history was being made with the direct shipment of non-oil product from the Calabar seaport to the United States of America, said: “in our search for a solution to different dimensional problems facing export in Nigeria, we opened a direct export from Calabar to the United States of America using a chartered vessel.”
“As a proud Nigerian company, our reserve is to elevate Nigeria’s name internationally by doing all we can to prove that we are resilient, resourceful, innovative and forward looking,” he said.
Adeniji, who observed that although the cost of shipping directly from the Calabar seaport to the U.S. was higher when compared to the Lagos port, added that the company was spending as much as 200,000 US Dollars to guarantee the safe passage of the chartered vessel.
According to him, it would take five days to load nearly one million bags of Cocoa into the vessel, which will spend 17 days to arrive the United States of America.
Hadiza Bala Usman, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), who flagged off the loading of the vessel in Calabar, described the development as a sign of better things for the nation.
Usman, who was represented by Marie Asan, the Port Manager of NPA Calabar, said “the Executive Management of NPA is pleased as it shows that the strategic measures put in place to make all the nation’s seaports viable and vibrant are beginning to produce positive outcomes.”
The NPA boss said that the management had introduced an inclusive governance system, which has brought modest milestones to Calabar Port in the areas of wreck removals, stimulation of container traffic, attraction of flat-bottom vessel traffic, restoration of broken down crafts” and more.
Also speaking, Mr Edward Akpan, the Manager of ECM Terminal, urged the Federal Government to address critical challenges at the Calabar Port since the tackling congestion of the port in Apapa, Lagos State was critical.
Akpan, who stated that ECM Terminal is a member of the EcoMarine Group and concessionaires of the Calabar Port Terminal B with 30 years concession from the NPA, said that the dredging of the Calabar channel was critical.
He added that the deplorable state of the access road was another factor impeding the full potential of the port and requires urgent attention.
He further called for the reintroduction of the rebate regime to attract other shippers and integrating the Calabar seaport to the national rail link to further enhance access.
In his remarks, Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross River, lauded the Nigerian shipping Company for choosing to convey its cargo via the Calabar Port, saying that it was a plus to the ECM Terminal and Cross River to have a vessel departing to the USA.
Ayade who was represented by the Commissioner for Commerce, Mrs Rosemary Archibong, urged the Federal Government to implement the agreement reached with the concessionaires on dredging of the Calabar Seaport.