President Muhamnadu Buhari on Monday commissioned the $1.5 billion Lekki Deep Sea Port at the Ibeju-Lekki area of Lagos.
The project, constructed by China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC), occupies 90 hectares out of the 830 hectares of land reserved for the Lagos Free Zone (LFZ).
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said the new port is the biggest in West Africa. He expressed joy that the execution of the project, which took off under Buhari’s administration, was completed during his tenure.
He noted that the multibillion naira project is a collaboration between the Federal Government, Lagos State Government and the private sector.
“We are indeed excited that the project execution started during your regime and it is now completed during your tenure,” Sanwo-Olu said.
Also speaking the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko, said, “For us a the NPA, this is a dream come true because Lekki Deep Sea Port will be the deepest and most modern port in Nigeria with a depth of about 16.5 meters as it will be able to bring in bigger vessels and more cargoes, therefore economies of scale would set in and we believe that the cost of doing business in this country will be lower compared to other countries. It will also provide employment opportunities and it will be more efficient. It will also be a model for other upcoming deep sea ports in Nigeria.
“The NPA will be the regulator and we will be responsible for providing marine services. We have already gone ahead to purchase the necessary equipment that will ensure safe and secured berthing of vessels in this port. While sitting here, we already have interest from a certain neighbouring country that is already talking about moving their cargoes from Lekki to Kano then to the African country because they have seen the opportunity of smooth operations and the efficiency here,” he said.
Chairman of China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC), Tang Qiaoliang, said, “Lekki port is the first deep sea port in Nigeria, a major trade hub in West Africa. It will improve the Nigerian port industry, easing the burden of cargo shipment flow, creating employments, and ultimately promote international trade in the nation.”
He said the company saw the opportunity in Nigeria, and believe in its potential. “So we committed the adequate financial investments and essential technology, together with Nigerians in the construction and operation of the port,” he said.
Phase 1 of the multipurpose port covers an area of 50 hectares, with two container berths and a total capacity of 1.2 million TEUs annually. Upon completion of the second phase, the port will have three container berths, one dry bulk berth and three liquid berths.
The approach channel is about 11km long and 16.5m deep. The main breakwater is 1.9km long and will accommodate a corridor for liquid transport to and from the liquid berths.
The Lekki Port Investment Holding Inc. owns 75% (China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd 52.50%, Tolaram 22.5%), the Lagos State Government owns 20% while Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) owns 5%.