NIGERIAN DREDGING SUMMIT AND OTHER DEVELOPMENT
The Nigerian Dredging Summit 2007 has come and gone but it exposed the potentials and the challenges for the emerging Nigerian indigenous dredging sector. One obvious conclusion for now is the scarcity of the prime commodity in this market and that is the dredger. One of the successful operators in the sector dropped a bombshell during his presentation that his organization was in need of five dredgers for immediate employment! At the moment, they have only one….In view of the quantum of new knowledge and information generated by this summit, an attempt to summarize it in few words will surely fail. For many editions through 2008, we shall be regurgitating various aspects of the new leads that began at that event. To begin to get an idea of the atmosphere at the event, we have published a comprehensive picture gallery of the event.
Towards the time of going to press for this edition, the major news of Lagos State Government’s banning of further dredging at some Ajah dredging sites broke. We have tried to put together the genesis and possible direction of that development. One fallout of this latest governmental action in the sector is the contribution it will make to environmental sanity around dredging sites in Lagos State. The onus will be on the state government to take actions that will be corrective but at the same time not throw away the baby with the bath water.
In the Niger Delta axis, the positive development is in respect of the dredging of the River Niger whose contract has now been awarded to four contractors. If they are properly funded as at when due, the nation would have embarked on a major maritime developmental project that would impact inland water transportation a great deal.
Last but not least in our consideration of stories in this edition is the deployment of the dredger River Pearlto the Bonny River for a major capital dredging campaign. Pearl River is reputed by its proprietors to be the biggest dredger ever to work in any part of Africa! We have done extensive interviews with the key local and foreign officials of Bonny Channel Company, the managing joint venture coordinating the project. Reading in between the lines, the feature is a good excursion into the ramifications of dredging for the governmental sector; and particularly into that aspect of Nigerian dredging that has to do with a nation’s desperate struggle to achieve milestones despite local drawbacks and much international hesitancy. However, overall, it turns out to be an interesting story.