The Federal Government has disclosed that when Lekki Deep Sea Port becomes operational in the last quarter of this year, it will provide a window for the country to leverage on transhipment and regain maritime businesses hitherto lost to neighbouring countries of Togo, Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who disclosed this today during an inspection tour of the ongoing Lekki Deep Sea project, said: “A major advantage we have to leverage is transhipment. With this port, Nigeria will become a transhipment hub and the revenue we are currently losing to our neighbouring countries will come here. That’s huge!”
Mohammed, who described the port as a game changer said: “the port has been projected to create 169,972 jobs and bring revenues totalling $201bn to state and federal government through taxes, royalties and duties. This is in addition to direct and induced business revenue impact estimated at $158bn in addition to a qualitative impact on manufacturing, trade and commercial services sector”. Still on positives of the port, the Information Minister added that the port boasts of $800m on construction alone, stressing that “the aggregate impact has been put at $361bn in 45 years, which will be over 200 times the cost of building it.” While describing the port as the largest port in West Africa, the Minister added that it will be a big boost to Nigeria in its quest to take advantage of the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, AfCFTA.
Acknowledging the giant strides on the infrastructure, the Minister said: “The facilities here are first class. We have 7 ship to shore cranes and 21 RTG cranes. No port in Nigeria currently has this. The excellent equipment is why this port can do 18,000, Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit (TEUs) which is more than four times the number that can currently be handled by our other ports” According to Mohammed, the phase one of the project has reached 89 per cent completion rate, assuring that it will hit the 100 per cent mark in the last quarter of this year.
Also, speaking, the Managing Director, Lekki Deep Sea Port, Du Ruogang, called on the Federal Government to assist in providing security for the port when it commences operations and to consider expanding the contract awarded for the access roads to be more than two lanes to enable optimal evacuation of cargoes.He further informed that the port expects the first vessel to berth before the end of the year as the 1st Phase of the project will be completed by then.
In his contribution, the Executive Secretary, Nigeria Shippers’ Council, NSC, Emmanuel Jime, who expressed satisfaction at the level of work done said lessons should be drawn from the Apapa port and adequate preparations made for evacuation of cargo at the Lekki port to avoid congestion.The Executive Director, Marine Operations, Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Onari Brown who represented the Managing Director, NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko said everything was being done to ensure timely completion of the project.The Minister was accompanied on the inspection tour by the Director, Maritime Services, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Babatunde J. Sule, the Executive Secretary, Director, Press and Public Relations, Eric Ojiekwe and other top management officials from the Ministry and its agencies.
Eric Ojiekwe Director, Press & PR May 5, 2022