Privatization bureau announces preferred bidder for Warri port concession

A port used to illustrate the story
Aerial view of the Old Warri port

The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) on Thursday named Ocean & Cargo Terminal Services Limited as the preferred bidder for the concession of Terminal B Warri Old Port in Delta State.

The ureau said in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES the bidder emerged at the end of financial bids opening for the port terminal in Abuja on Wednesday.

The statement said the company offered $25.5 million to emerge the preferred concessionaire after its rival, Ecomarine Consortium, was disqualified for improper submission of its bidding documents.

The spokesperson of the bureau, Amina Othman, said despite the emergence of Ocean and Cargo Terminal Services Limited, the approval of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) would still be required for final confirmation .

The bid exercise chaired by chairman of the technical committee of the NCP, M. K Ahmed, was witnessed by representatives of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) , including its executive director, Marine Operations, Sokonte Davies, who stood in for the managing director, Hadiza Usman.

Although Ecomarine Consortiumn scored about 87.84% percent in the evaluation of the technical proposals submitted by prospective bidders, organisers of the bid declared the documents were not properly submitted.

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Their disqualification, therefore, allowed Ocean & Cargo Terminal Services Limited, to emerge winner despite scoring a lower grade of 82.70 percent.

Director General of BPE, Alex Okoh, who was represented by the Director, Transport Department, Aliyu Maigari, said government was determined to concession the Terminal ‘B’ of the Warri old port to sustain the modest achievements recorded since the port concession programme commenced in 2005.

Mr Okoh listed the benefits of the port concessioning to include Increased efficiency of ports operation and reduction in cost of doing business for ports users.

Other benefits include reduction in dependence on the treasury for support; to boost economic activity, increase the gross domestic product.

The exercise will also accelerate development to make the Nigerian ports the hub of international freights in west and Central Africa, he added.

Mr Okoh said government has huge expectations from the preferred bidder, urging it to focus on the objectives of the port reforms as it goes about its businesses.

The Chairman, Technical Committee of the NCP, M. K Ahmed, said the reform and restructuring of the transport sector which commenced in 2000, led to the concession of 26 ports terminals out of the 28 in 2006.

He said concessioning of the port facility commenced on June 23, 2014 with an advertisement by the NCP calling for Expressions of Interest (EOIs) from prospective concessionaires interested in taking over and managing Terminal B Warri Old port .

At the deadline for the submission of EOIs, he said 13 applications were received, out of which seven were pre- qualified for the issuance of bidding documents.

Associated Maritime Services Limited (AMS) was the concessionaire that won the Warri Old Port Terminal B in 2006.

However, despite taking over the terminal in 2007, the AMS could not operate the facility because the entire terminal was in total disuse.

After some time, the facility was in a total state of disrepair, after the quay wall collapsed and the stacking/operation areas caved in, making it difficult for cranes withstand the pressure when operational.

Besides, all the warehouses and stalls were in bad state.

On April 25, 2008, the NPA temporarily relocated AMS to Warri New Port to enable it undertake the necessary repairs, rehabilitation and reconstruction of the facilities at the terminal.

However, the arrangement did not materialise, as NPA did not have the necessary funds.

Consequently, AMS applied to NPA to convert its stay at the new terminal to a permanent one.

But, BPE and NPA jointly considered the application and with the approval of the NCP, AMS was relocated to the New Warri Terminal ‘A’ to complete the remaining period of its 10 – year concession.

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