Nigeria’s first deep sea port is at 48 percent completion and will begin commercial operations in the first quarter of 2023, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said Friday.
“The investors have given us the commitment on the first quarter of 2023 completion date. We will fulfill all our parts to make sure this date becomes reality,” Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos State, said on his working tour of the Lekki Deep Sea Port at the Lagos Free Trade Zone.
The Lekki Deep Sea Port, which is being constructed by China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC), is occupying 90 hectares of the entire 830 hectares of land carved out for the Lagos Free Zone, created in 2012 to enhance the economic position of Lagos as a manufacturing and logistics hub in West Africa.
“With the level of work, we have seen, I’m truly excited. It is more gratifying that we are taking up this assignment with all energies required and we all can see what we can achieve when we work together,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu said the size of the deep seaport will allow 18,000 TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit) capacity vessels, which are four times bigger than the ones berthing at the existing Apapa seaports in the state, thereby scaling down the cost of container transportation from any part of the world.
When completed, the deep seaport is expected to generate more than 170,000 direct and indirect job opportunities and serve as an alternative to decongest the sea ports in Apapa, the governor said.
Zhang Wenfeng, the managing director of CHEC in Nigeria, told Xinhua on the phone Saturday that the Lekki Deep Sea Port project is progressing well and that CHEC will make sure the first deep sea port in Nigeria will be completed on time in 2023
The project which commenced with planning in 2019 is funded by China Development Bank (CBD) which is to provide a $629 million financing facility to enable a consortium led by China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) to construct and run the first deep seaport in Nigeria.
At the facility agreement signing ceremony held in Lagos, Biodun Dabiri, chairman of Lekki Port Board of Director, said upon completion, the Lekki Deep Sea Port would become one of the deepest ports not only in Nigeria but also in sub-Saharan Africa, which can accommodate larger vessels thereby making Nigeria the trans-shipment hub of the region.
The project, according to Dabiri, would create about 170,000 direct and indirect jobs.
According to CHEC, Lekki Deep Sea Port phase 1 consists of two container berths with -16.5m water depth and a total length of 680m.
The port is capable to be berthed by the fifth-generation container ship, which has the maximum capacity of 18,000 TEUs.
The annual handling capacity in phase 1 of the port can reach 1.2 million TEUs, and after completion of phase 2, the capacity will reach up to 2.5 million TEUs.