The Rivers Port is now busy and safe The Port Manager of Port Harcourt
Port Complex, Abubakar Garba Umar, made this declaration when the
Executive Council  of the Energy & Maritime Reporters (EMR) corps paid
him a sensitization visit this weekend.

He was responding to an address by the interim chairman of the EMR, Mr
Martins Giadom. Umar received the EMR team with Ezinne Mgbeudo Asinobi
(Principal Manager, Corporate & Strategic Communications), and Captain
Femi Oyewole (Harbour Master) as well as other principal officers that
manage the Port Harcourt Port Complex.

The present Port Manager assumed office in 2016 and has been working
with the mandate to restore the ports in Rivers State to full
viability. The port manager said complaints before he came were that
the ports were unsafe and full of danger and that nothing much was
happening there.

On how the turn-around took place, Umar said upon resumption, his team
embarked on sensitization drive to importers in the region on the need
to route their goods through the Port Harcourt port. We created
awareness on the viability of the Rivers port and we allayed their
fears about insecurity and other matters.

He said the stakeholders bought the idea. Now, the Port Harcourt port
is busy and viable. Most of our berths are now occupied. Containers
now come because two shipping lines now come to Port Harcourt and one
more is about to join.

He revealed how the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) worked to decongest
the port road (Harbour Road) which was rehabilitated by the Rivers
State government in 2016. Road congestion, which was a fact of the
Harbour Road, is no more so. This is because we took proactive
measures to keep that in check. We now insist that our road should be
free,  We said we do not use port road for parking.

Umar said insecurity was a big source of fear in the past, but that
has been a thing of past. From 2017, Rivers ports operate on Step 1
security grade, not step 2 anymore.

Responding to issues raised by the EMR leadership, Umar said the
appeal for timely information to the media was a welcome one. He
reminded journalists that there are listed bodies that have right by
international regulations to have a presence in ports around the

He however said access to the ports for information to newsmen would
not suffer. “Update of information is important and you have already
observed that we are steadily reaching out to the media. We believe
that regular update is key.

He said the NPA in Port Harcourt was prepared to partner with the EMR
to further take the message of the authority, We will work with the
media to achieve better information dissemination. We can only request
you to always clarify information before use.

Earlier in his address, the chairman of EMR, Martins Giadom of Rivers
State Broadcasting Corporation, called for openness and free flow of
information, saying the feats so far recorded by the port manager were
noted by the group. This visit affords us the opportunity to explore
areas of mutual benefits in the pursuit of a better port system in
Rivers State and other facilities of the NPA in the state which would
help transform the ports to become economically viable,
business-friendly and responsive to global best practices.

Giadom said as professional journalists with keen interest and a clear
mandate to report the Energy and Maritimr sub-sectors of the economy,
the EMR would play critical roles in the dissemination of information
in the south-south and east, The Energy and Maritime Reporters (EMR)
corp is an organization founded by senior journalists in the Energy
and Maritime sectors of the profession with the key objective of
pursuing strategic media goals that would help bring to better
limelight the issues of the sectors. EMR thus remains an organization
that is focused on working in synergy with relevant stakeholders in
the energy and maritime sectors to better inform the public, better
engage operators in the sectors and beter enhance economic activities
in both the Energy and Maritime sub-sectors.”

He called for support in consistent training of journalists (EMR) that
cover such sensitive and specialised sub
-sectors as energy and maritime in the south-south and east.