Wednesday 03.22.2017 | Time 17.45 hrs
       
              
Rivers Port Complex
 
INTRODUCTION
 
The history of Port Harcourt dates back to the colonial era with the discovery of coal in commercial quantity in Enugu, the pace of work in Port Harcourt Port was accelerated and in 1913, history was made as Port Harcourt Port was commissioned by Lord Fredrick Lugard, the first Governor-General of Nigeria. Three years later in 1916, the Port Harcourt-Enugu rail line was completed to commence shipment of this solid mineral from Enugu through the Port to overseas markets. 
 
The Port Situated in the Gulf of Guinea, is also known as Rivers Port Complex started from a humble beginning; evolving from one berth for coal export; to four berths to handle a cargo mix of import/export merchandise. Presently, the Port with a quay length of 1,259 is capable of accommodating eight modern sea-going vessels loading and discharging at the same time. The Port is also equipped with 16 tanks of 3,048 ton capacity of bulk oil installation. This has a conveyor belt and a pier holding the structure, while there are also seven stacking areas of 27,407.15 square meters size and four (4) Arcon sheds with storage capacity 12,486.15 square meters. The dockyard, is the section which carries out electrical, marine and engineering works, is being headed by a Dockyard Manager. 
 
The Port is a multi-purpose Port and plays the ‘Mother-Port’ role to several jetties surrounding her as ‘satellites’. Through the provision of pilotage and towage services, thereby catering for the various markets, relating to Dry, Liquid and General cargo trades. It is worthy to not that the Port is situated strategically in one of the world’s largest crude oil production regions and by this advantage, created the tanker market being witnessed at the Federal Ocean Terminal through the Bonny Fairway Buoy. 
 
PORT REFORM 
In 2006 the Federal Government reformed the Nigerian Ports in line with global trends. Thus, giving way to Private Sector Participation (RSP) in Port operations. Rivers Port was not left out. We have Messrs Port and Terminal Operators Limited (PTOL) and BUA Ports and Terminals Nigeria Limited as Private Operators in the Port with Nigerian Ports Authority as the Landlord.
 
Further to this, Rivers Port monitors, regulates and ensures compliance of all terms and conditions expressed in the Lease Agreement. The Port also controls all the jetties under its jurisdiction as well as the provision of marine services. Capital and maintenance dredging are carried out by Bonny channel Company (BCC), a joint venture company to keep the channel open, navigable and safe for maritime business. Other activities include: planning and development of Port infrastructure, Bartymetric surveys, maintenance and enforcement of Health, Safety and Environment (HSE). Nigerian Ports Authority provides security in compliance with the International Ship and Port facility Security (ISPS Code) i.e it is a security guideline issued by International Maritime Organization (IMO) for global compliance, to protect ships and port facilities against terrorist attack and in 1st July 2004, the Presidential Implementation Committee on Maritime Safety and Security (PICOMSS) established by the Presidency to implement it in Nigeria Seaports. Also this feat has been achieved through security and the joint efforts of Navy, Port Police, the Joint Task Force (JTF), the Marine Police and NPA Security officials.  
 
PROSPECTS
With the ongoing reactivation of rail systems nation-wide including that of Port Harcourt Port, there is hope for higher records of cargo throughput in volume terms. This will further translate to increase in revenue generation. To the importers, the cost of transportation will reduce drastically since rail is cheaper than road transportation. To Nigerian consumers, it means a reduction in the cost of imported commodities.
 
Enhancement of ICT through a common network with Nigeria Customs and other Port users will further add value to faster documentation that will lead to Port efficiency. This will place more demand on human capacity development against the backdrop of international best practices. 
 
Nigerian Ports Authority also engaged the services of Messrs. African Circle Pollution Management Limited (ACPML) on Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) agreement to build and operates waste reception facilities for ship generated waste in the Port. 
 
Recently, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) engaged the services of Messrs. PPP Fluids to transport Crude Oil from its platform to Port Harcourt Refinery at Okrika for the puporse of refining it into different products to avoid pipeline vandalisation with it colossal loss to the Federal Government. With the advent of this operation, the revenue base of Rivers Port is enhanced.