Bel­gian mar­itime com­pany, An­twerp Port, eyes Cross River’s $2bn Bakassi deep sea­port pro­ject

Business a.m. - - NIGERIA FRONTIER MARKETS - Ben Egu­zozie, in Port Har­court

CROSS RIVER GOVER­NOR, BEN AYADE’S dream of ac­tu­al­iz­ing a deep sea­port at Bakassi, which cost has been put at $2 bil­lion may be grad­u­ally at­tain­ing re­al­ity, with the ex­pres­sion of in­ter­est made on the pro­ject by An­twerp Ports In­ter­na­tional of Bel­gium.

Ste­fan Cas­si­mon, the port di­rec­tor of An­twerp Ports In­ter­na­tional, led a team of tech­ni­cal di­rec­tors and ex­perts from the Port of An­twerp to an in­spec­tion of the site, which is at the Cal­abar River emp­ty­ing into the At­lantic Ocean on Nige­ria’s south-eastern flank. Gover­nor Ayade took the Bel­gians on a boat ride to the deep sea­port site. He said the visit was to do a re­con­nais­sance, a re­quired sur­vey of the lo­ca­tion, suit­abil­ity and adapt­abil­ity of the port.

Daniel Ber­trand, the Bel­gian am­bas­sador to Nige­ria, had ear­lier vis­ited Gover­nor Ayade in Cal­abar, the state cap­i­tal, with a team of Bel­gian mar­itime ex­perts.

The am­bas­sador said the team was in Cal­abar “to dis­cuss fur­ther on the won­der­ful pro­ject in Bakassi, and to en­sure that the pro­ject, that is the deep sea­port, will be a suc­cess as soon as pos­si­ble.”

He said that Cross River was of in­ter­est to Bel­gium be­cause the state is close to the sea, with so many po­ten­tials and en­dowed with very in­dus­tri­ous pop­u­la­tion. “I think that a lot is pos­si­ble here for you and for us,” he said.

Am­bas­sador Ber­trand as­sured of his coun­try’s com­mit­ment to the pro­ject say­ing: “We are also here to en­sure that Bel­gium con­trib­utes ac­tively in this won­der­ful pro­ject”.

Gover­nor Ayade said the tour (of the deep sea­port) will strengthen com­mit­ment to the part­ner­ship with the Port of An­twerp and the Cross River State Gov­ern­ment, to ei­ther take the in­vest­ment for pub­lic place­ment strat­egy or di­rect in­vest­ment by in­vestors.

“For such a well cel­e­brated name in the mar­itime in­dus­try to have de­cided to get in­volved with the Bakassi Deep Sea­port pro­ject, is a great plus for us in Cross River State. The deep sea­port is one of our on-go­ing legacy projects,” the gover­nor said.

He lauded An­twerp Ports In­ter­na­tional’s in­ter­est in the Bakassi Deep Sea­port, say­ing Nige­ria will have a lot to ben­e­fit from the port, which he de­scribed as the first in­dus­trial cargo sea­port as ap­proved by the Fed­eral Min­istry of Trans­porta­tion.

Ayade said the Bakassi Deep Sea­port would cre­ate a short­cut be­tween the mouth of the At­lantic Ocean and north­ern Nige­ria, with the view to ex­port­ing solid min­er­als that abound in that part of the coun­try. “The fu­ture is Africa, and that fu­ture starts today. Cross River is smart enough to part­ner with the Port of An­twerp in­ter­na­tional for the de­vel­op­ment of the Bakassi Deep Sea­port to take the At­lantic Ocean closer to north­ern Nige­ria, to al­low for the full ex­ploita­tion of the iron ore de­posits and all the solid min­eral de­posits for the wealth and pros­per­ity of Nige­ria,” he said.

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