Flat Bottom Vessel

The Managing Director of Nigeria ports Authority NPA Ms. Hadiza Usman has advocated the use of flat bottom vessels in some Nigerian ports with low draught and shallow water channels.

Usman reasoned that the shallow nature of those vessels would be a perfect solution to the low use and patronage of the affected ports and that if such vessels are deployed economic activities would again spring up in those ports and to a greater extent in the port city.

Ms. Usman made the suggestions while receiving a delegation of the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping NCS in Lagos. In a statement released on her behalf by NPA Corporate and Strategic Communication Manager Mallam Isa Suwaid, the NPA boss was quoted as proffering the use of flat bottom vessels as the solution to the limitations in some shallow draught channels.

Another Flat Bottom Vessel

The NPA boss listed the affected ports with low draught as Calabar and Warri ports and recalled the successful berthing in Calabar port of a flat bottom 200 metre long and 61,000 MT heavy vessels sometime last year in spite of the draught limitations of the channel.

She further reasoned that if such a vessel can successful berth in Calabar port then other flat bottom vessels would do likewise. She calls for collaboration between the port authority and stakeholders in the maritime sector especially the shipping sub-sector towards acquiring flat bottom vessels for use in the ports of Calabar and Warri respectively.

The NPA boss assured that a committed proposal in this regard in respect thereof would be welcome by the authority to make the dream materialize and bring life back to these moribund ports. She made a clarion call on the ship owners and hirers to redirect their business strategy towards embracing the idea which is very realizable.

Reacting to the advice of the NPA boss, the President of the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping  NCS Mr. Andy Isichei lamented the shallow nature of most ports in the country saying it has hampered and frustrated shipping activities in those ports. The chamber president urged the NPA to dredge the port channels so as to enable ships unhindered access to the various ports.

The chamber’s president also appreciated the advice of deploying flat bottom vessels to the shallow draught channels stating that the shipping chambers will take up the challenge. He, however, appealed to the ports authority to support the initiative with funding and logistics.