By John Iwori
One of the concessionaires in the nation’s seaports, Integrated Logistics Services Nigeria Limited (INTELS) has stated that it is not monopolising the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone.
The Onne oil and gas free zone which is located in Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State is home to several public and private own companies including , terminal operators and freight forwarding firms.
INTELS won the bid for the concession following the conclusion of the port reforms initiated by the Federal Government during Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration.
The exercise which was supervised by the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) divested the management of Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) from the day-to-day running of the terminals as well as cargo handling.
INTELS Head of Public Relations Mr. Isidore Sambol told THISDAY at the weekend there is no iota of truth in the allegations of monopoly against the oil and gas servicing firm.
According to him, the report which insinuated that the company is a monopoly fell flat on the fact that there are close to 170 other companies operating at the free zone.
He however stated that some of the companies in the free zone have suffered low patronage, thus leading to their closure in recent times.
Sambol explained that INTELS has operated at the free zone for over three decades and has made major contributions to the socio-economic development of the country.
His words: “Our unique one-stop shop approach to logistics has halved the cost of logistics in the industry and has saved the Nigerian nation huge money. INTELS through its corporate social responsibility (CSR) policy, has empowered people of the host communities through road networks, healthcare and human capacity building, women empowerment programmes, football tournaments, among others”.
THISDAY had reported that the President of Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM), Dr. Nelson Uwaga, had called on the federal government to implement policies that set up the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone, saying it is capable of conserving Nigeria’s foreign exchange.
Uwaga stated that the Nigerian government, should as a matter of policy, make it mandatory for all players in the oil and gas sector to source their services at the free zone in order to sustain the facility and enable investors get returns on investment.
Besides NIM, other stakeholders in the maritime industry had also hailed INTELS on the strides it has made since it started operations in the nation’s seaports.
Apparently impressed by the achievements of INTELS since it took over the running of Onne, Calabar and Warri ports, the stakeholders in a recent visit to the operational base of the firm said the terminal operator need to be encouraged to do more.
In a chat with THISDAY, the Managing Director of the Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority (OGFZA), Hon. Victor Alabo expressed delight in the way and manner the concessionaire has added value to its operations in the port.