The Minister of Transport, Idris Umar, said on Tuesday that the federal government was partnering the Akwa Ibom State Government and private investors to develop the Ibaka Deep Sea Port to accommodate high volume of cargoes.
The minister stated this at the inauguration of the Development and Steering Committee of the port on Tuesday in Abuja.
Umar said the port would be developed under Public Private Partnership (PPP) to accommodate cargoes generated through maritime trade; adding that the port's location, which is an integral part of Ibom Industrial City and an important milestone in the development of Akwa Ibom, offered investors unparalleled opportunities for maritime and oil and gas related productions.
According to him, the site will also accommodate dry docking for super tanker vessels and offer low cost access to off shore oil/gas fields.
“Mr President attaches great importance to this which is indeed part of the transformation agenda,” he said. “We are committed to the of the project by the year 2015.”
Umar said President Goodluck Jonathan convened a maritime sector retreat on July 3 to articulate concrete action plans to harness the potential of the maritime sector for sustainable national economic development.
“We are taking an important step in the actualisation of one of the key outcomes of that presidential initiative,” he said. “It is not in doubt that the nation’s existing six ports are over-stretched. With an overall handling capacity of 60 million tonnes per annum, the ports presently cater for over 100 million tonnes per annum. It is, therefore, evident that the existing ports cannot cope with the current demand of the sector.”
He commended Governor Godswill Akpabio for providing more than 5,000 hectares of land for the port, with further commitment to provide basic infrastructure; and urged members of the committee to apply their experience and expertise to the and diligent implementation of the project.
Responding, the Secretary to the Akwa Ibom State Government, Umana Umana, who is also a member of the committee, thanked the president for approving the project, promising that the state would ensure completion of the project.