- The Calabar Port is located in the estuaries of the Calabar, Cross River State in the South-Southern region of Nigeria.
- Calabar Port, together with the Port Harcourt, Warri, and Onne, are the gateway for sea trade in the South-Southern, South-Eastern part of Nigeria.
- In December 1969, the Federal Government took over the port from previous private operators who were mostly shipping companies. The government handed the management of the port to the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA).
- The development, modernization, and expansion of the Calabar port were embarked upon under the 3rd National Development Plan of 1975–1980. This was done in order to upgrade the port facility to cope with the ever-increasing demand of the Nigerian economy.
- On the 9th of June, 1979, the new Calabar Port complex was commissioned. It lies 45 nautical miles (about84km) upstream from Fairway Buoy.
- The port currently is made up of the Old Port, New Port, Dockyard and rights to some Crude Oil Terminals at Antan, Odudu, Yoho, QuaIboe; and other jetties at NIWA, McIver, NNPC, ALSCON, Dozzy, Northwest.
- The three Terminals of Calabar Port are operated by the Terminal Operators; namely: Ecomarine Terminal Ltd, INTELS Nigeria Ltd, and Shoreline Logistics Nigeria Limited.
- The Calabar Port is the nearest port to 16 northern states (especially in the North-Eastern region) in Nigeria. However, most of these states are being serviced by the port of Douala in Cameroun.
- The port was also designed to serve as quick access and strategic hub to the neighbouring countries like Chad, Niger and Cameroon. The landlocked Niger Republic is closer to Calabar than Cotonou. Yet, the ports in Cotonou is currently being used by Niger as an import/export hub.
- The Calabar Port has a siltation rate of over 30 percent. The draught is 5.4 metres on low water and 6.4 metres on high water. All these have reportedly made it extremely difficult for large vessels to call at the port.
- The port is estimated to be currently generating about N12 billion yearly into the Federal Government coffers. In 2018, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS ) generated N404billion as revenue from the Apapa port in the year 2018.
- With proximity to 16 northern states, some eastern markets, and the landlocked country of Niger Republic, Calabar Port is strategically located to serve as a hub for the landlocked country of Niger and earn significant revenue for the government.
- Several attempts to open up the Port through dredging of its 84 nautical miles channel have consistently hit a brick wall.
- The first contract for the dredging of the Calabar Port Channel was awarded in 1996 during the administration of late General Sani Abacha. The contract was awarded to a little known Chinese company that showed up for a while and simply vanished.
- In 2006, the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo awarded the contract again to two Dutch companies at a cost of $56million. Both companies left the contract without completing their assignment.
- On November 17, 2014, President Goodluck Jonathan awarded another contract to complete the project. The completion contracted was award for N20billion. The contract, which was signed by the NPA, the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) and the Calabar Channel Management, was for the port to be dredged up to 9.8 metres, but it also hit the brick wall.
- The Managing Director of NPA, Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman, advised maritime business operators at the Calabar port to adopt flat bottom vessels due to the low draft of the channel. However, maritime expert says flat bottom vessels have tonnage limitations and do not meet the economies of scale of volumes in modern-day shipping.
- On October, 2018, the Managing director of NPA, Hadiza Bala-Usman, announced that the revenue generated at the Calabar port would determine whether the federal government would spend a whopping N50billion on the Calabar port dredging.
- In Nov 12, 2018, the Federal Government arrested the Senator Hope Uzodinma, a senator representing Imo West Senatorial District, and a governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Imo State, for the failure of his company to execute a contract of $12 million for the dredging of Calabar channel.
- When fully functional, it is expected that the Calabar Port would increase the volume of vessel traffic and cargo throughput in the port, decongest Lagos ports and reduce the cost of doing business for Calabar-based businessmen who spend additional transport cost to take delivery of their consignments in Lagos and Onne ports.
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