Representatives from Edo Government on Wednesday, visit the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) with a view to establishing an agro-based river port.
This is contained in a statement issued by Manji Yarling, the Acting Head, Media and Publicity, ICRC on Thursday in Abuja.
According to the statement, the visit is to intimate the commission on plans by the state government to finalise and submit an Outline Business Case (OBC) toward establishing the port.
The statement quoted the leader of the delegation, Mr Greg Ogbeifun as saying “the visit is to seek ICRC’s guidance on the project.
“The main purpose of our coming here in this introductory visit today is to get your support, assistance and direction on how we will proceed from here.”
Giving an insight into the proposed Benin City River Port, the Project Director Dr Joe Aigboduwa, said that the project was proposed as an agro port that would sit on 700 hectares of land.
According to him, the port will be positioned to be the closest port to the Lekki Deep Sea port and also close to the Dangote Refinery.
He said that it would seek to solve some of the challenges witnessed in exporting agricultural products, adding that the port would also provide processing and packaging services for agricultural products.
“It is going to be an agro-based port, encompassing a port community. We have learnt from all the mistakes of all the other ports in Nigeria, so we are developing a unique port.
“This will take care of the agricultural sector in Nigeria,” he said.
Aigboduwa explained that currently, the process of exporting agricultural produce was to aggregate the produce and take to warehouses and load on to ships for exports.
He recalled the times that Nigeria had been embarrassed when exported agricultural produce were rejected by the countries they were exported to for lack of proper preservation and processing.
“BRP is out to solve that challenge because we have identified value creation.
“So, after receiving the produce, we take it into the BRP industrial park where we will do deconsolidation, value addition and packaging before it is ready for export.
“We have been able to identify that if the port were to be functional today it would have at least 1.3 million metric tonnes export throughputs and 2.1 million metric tonnes of import throughputs.
“We have so many potential to be exploited and developed. Our targeted potential for export are cashew, sorghum, cotton – all these things we are doing in arable form can be industrialised and take Nigeria to greater heights.
“We have been meeting with the producers and they are looking forward to this port coming on board,” he said.
Aigboduwa further said that the port would also serve as one for importation of vehicles, saying that it had proven that it would be a profitable venture.
He said that the port would also serve as a buffer for the Lekki Deep sea port as the Lagos port was already too congested.
He gave a breakdown of the structure to include: housing area for security and for staff, a 20-hectare trailer park and a processing industry for agricultural goods and other products as well as a container and multipurpose terminals.
Aigboduwa told ICRC that the project would require a Public Private Partnership (PPP) funding mechanism, saying that the Edo government was finalising the Outline Business Case for onward submission to the commission.
The Acting Director-General of ICRC, Michael Ohiani, told the delegation that there were key processes that must be followed for such a project to be feasible.
“We cannot receive OBC from you, it has to come from the Federal Ministry of Transportation because this project is on the exclusive legislative list.
“If you are doing a project of this nature, you also have to take into consideration the risks and how you are going to mitigate it, especially taking into consideration your competitors,” he said.