The Federal Government has put up the Onitsha River Port in Anambra State on concession for N4billion under a public-private partnership arrangement, as it targets to earn N23billion from the deal in 30 years.
Maritime observers have noter that for about five years, the government and investors had been engaged in discussions on the concession of the facility.
On Thursday, a concessionaire, Universal Elysium Consortium, was announced as the preferred bidder for the port after an open bid process.
Universal Elysium Consortium is comprised of Universal Elysium Limited (lead Investor), China National Electrical Engineering Limited (EPC contractor), Port of ANTWERP (technical partner) and China Harbor Engineering Company (Nig.) Ltd (technical partner).
The concession process was mid-wifed by the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, as the concession agreement was signed at the headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Transportation in Abuja.
In her address at the signing ceremony, the Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki, said the Onitsha River Port concession would be the catalyst for the rest of the river ports to be put up on concession.
Other river ports being considered for concession include Baro, Lokoja and Oguta, according to the minister.
The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), the original owners of the facility expressed satisfaction with the concession of the Onitsha River Port.
The Managing Director, NIWA, George Moghalu, said several government agencies were involved in the concession process including the World Bank. On his part, the Managing Director, Universal Elysium Consortium Ltd, George Nwangwu, said his company was willing to invest in the rehabilitation of the port to ensure its profitability.