By Deborah Coker
Benin, Nov. 11, 2020 Atlantique Marine Engineering Services (AMES), says it has secured the Federal Government’s approval to promote Edo inland Dry port as a port of origin and destination.
Dr Charles Akhigbe, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company, who disclosed this on Wednesday, in an interview with newsmen in Benin, added that the port was expected to create no fewer than 5,000 jobs, including ancillary services.
Akhigbe explained that with the approval granted in October, the dry port was set to commence agro exports soon.
He, however, said that the management of the dry port was expecting the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council(NEPC), Mr Segun Awolowo’s to visit and inspect the facility for zero export dedicated warehouse, before it commences exports.
Being the first in the South-South geo political zone, the executive said, the port would not only service the South-South but also the South East zone, including some parts of North Central.
He noted that siting the dry port in Benin was a deliberate business plan because of its strategic socio-economic location, saying Edo remained a logistic hub, being on an ECOWAS trade route.
The AMES boss explained that the dry port had been designed to hold 20,000 containers at a time with phase one holding 12,000 and 8,000 in phase two, including offices for Customs, the Quarantine Service and other relevant agencies expected at the port once it commences.
“One of the advantages why an inland dry port is important is that, shippers and industrialists absolutely do not have to come to Lagos any more, it becomes the responsibility of the freight forwarders and the shippers.
“It is their responsibility to bring the containers inland through whatever inter-nodal means they choose, it maybe by sea, road or rail’’, he said.
Whilst acknowledging the absence of a rail link to Edo, Akhigbe explained that the company was aware that most containers move by road, and this will be complemented by ‘’seaports around us like the Warri and Koko ports”.
He explained that the project had reached 80 per cent completion, saying that AMES was working with the Nigerian Shippers Council, ICRC and the Federal Ministry of Transportation, to ensure its timely completion.
Akhigbe said in preparation for project take off, AMES had entered into agreement with Farmers Oasis and Free On Board international logistics to commence dedicated export warehouses, where it would be processing and packaging for export a minimum of 100 tonnes daily.
“Last year, we were invited by the Federal Ministry of Transportation to the project steering committee to give them an update on the project.
Since then, there had been renewed vigour by the ministry to ensure that AMES-Edo inland dry port got the necessary approvals and today that has been achieved”, he said.