Shippers in Delta have appealed to the Federal Government to dredge the Escravos water channel which connects the Atlantic to Warri Port, to enable bigger sail to the port.
The President, Delta Shippers Association (DESA), Mr Austin Egbegbadia, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Warri.
He said that the Escravos channel had become so shallow that ocean-going vessels could no longer sail to the port, thereby rendering the once busy Warri port almost idle.
Egbegbadia expressed optimism that if the situation was addressed, activities at the port would come back to life and boost economic development of Warri, the Delta commercial city.
The association said that the revival of Warri port would also help to reduce the cost of shipment of cargoes to other ports of the country.
“At this crucial time of in the country’s economy when we are seeking diversification, government needs to formulate policy framework to make the moribund Delta port viable again.
“The Warri port and other ports in Delta port can create over 100,000 direct jobs and 500,000 indirect jobs,” he said.
There are other ports in the state such as Koko, Sapele, Burutu ports but now in their shadows.
Warri port, the largest and very viable in the state years back, hardly receives two cargoes in a week these days.
Egbegbadia said Warri port was strategic to the economy of the country because of its proximity to the eastern and northern parts of the country.
“It is unfortunate that successive governments failed to address the challenges in these ports.
He said that since government was diversifying the economy, Delta ports should be given a priority.
“Warri port was a beehive of commercial activities when it was functional. Ocean-going liners were berthing and everybody was happy doing something.”
The DESA boss urged that the multi billion dollars investment in Warri port should not be allowed to decay.