The House of Representatives’ Committee on Marine Transport has set in motion  the legislative processes that will facilitate development of new port facilities in the country.

Chairman of the committee, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who disclosed this while addressing newsmen in Abuja, stated that the development of a new port will put an end to the perennial congestion that has bedeviled ports in Lagos over the years.

“To put an end to this congestion, we are pushing for development of new port facilities. This is because it is clear that the existing facilities are inadequate, not just for today, but also for future projections. Indeed, we have charged the  Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, to promptly come up with a comprehensive, short, medium and long-term port development plan.” Ugwuanyi said.

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Towards the end of the third quarter of 2008, Lagos ports experienced an unprecedented vessels and cargo congestion for several months, which almost grounded port operations as containers filled available spaces in the terminals, leaving no space for  the discharge of new ones.

This underscores the inadequacy in the existing ports that have been encroached by population growth, leaving no space for expansion.

Already, the Federal Government has worked on developing new river ports at Onitsha, Idah Dekina, Lokoja and Baro in Niger State, but the construction works were stalled by issues ranging from fraud to lack of access road to the port site.

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—Esther Komolafe