China Harbour Engineering announces completion of Lekki deep seaport

Perspectives on deep seaport investments


China Harbour Engineering LFTZ Enterprise (CHELE) on Monday announced the completion of Lekki deep seaport.

CHELE, which is a subsidiary of China Habour Engineering Company Limited, during the completion ceremony also handed over the port to the Lekki Free Port Terminal.

Speaking at the commemoration, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu applauded the project and it’s speedy completion while noting that the port will create up 200,000 direct and indirect jobs.

“Like I said, the benefit to us in this project and the benefit to our citizens can be left better imagined. Providing jobs to close to 200, 000 jobs for both direct and indirect jobs in the next couple of months and years ahead in addition to adding tens of billions in dollars revenue to our country, state and host community is laudable.

“This port will position the state as the new maritime logistics hub not only in West African in the whole Central African but also West African region while positioning Nigeria to attain the full leadership position of AFCFTA.

“I want to use this opportunity to assure our private players on this project of the commitment that Lagos State Government is bringing to the fore and ensuring that all our promises that this location is not going to be a gridlock will all be fulfilled.

“You have seen that the construction of the road from Eleko junction has continued towards Ajah and I have also seen that the construction from Eleko junction towards here is also ongoing. I want to reassure you that we will stop at nothing to push this road to completion.

“I am going to give the contractors a matching order to ensure that the road construction that will evacuate all the containers here do not constitute gridlock. And I am also going to discuss with the host community abut all the shanties that we need to clear along the right of way.

“I also want the citizens to know that we are turning this place into a six lane highway and so if there are shanties along the road, let push them away and clear the road. And to all our many other investors that are intending to invest in the LFTZ, I want to make it clear that you can count on us to ensure that the ease of doing business is not a lip service thing, it is something that we are committed in doing,” he said.

The Board chairman of Lekki port, Biodun Dabiri, said the port would create over 170,000 direct and indirect jobs for Nigerians.

“It has been a long journey of many steps. Starting from the time when Tolaram led by Pa Mohan Aswani sought to develop a deep seaport for the benefit of the Lagos free zone, and indeed all of Lagos State and Nigeria; to getting a concession from the Nigerian Ports Authority for a unique private-public partnership port; getting a loan facility from China Development Bank to the infusion of equity capital in the sum of US$221m by China Harbour Engineering Company to the start of construction in the midst of an unprecedented global pandemic. It has indeed been a journey.

“Through it all, CHELE and China Harbour courageously persevered with the construction and by the grace of God and with the support of all the stakeholders, we are able to convene here today for the symbolic exchange of the fully constructed port and we congratulate CHELE on a job well done. It was tough but CHELE delivered, and we commend them for their dedication and hard work.

“In 2019 (23rd October to be precise) when the US$629m loan facility agreements with China Development Bank was signed, I noted that the facility will enable the construction of the port which will deepen Nigeria’s infrastructural capacity and have a transformational effect on the Nigerian economy. This has now come to pass, and I am indeed very pleased that all the hard work of the promoters, Tolaram and China Harbour and of the shareholders which include Lagos State Government and the Nigerian Ports Authority, has not been in vain.

“When the presidential commissioning takes place, and the port becomes fully operational, there is no doubt that Lekki deep seaport will contribute immensely to the growth of the Nigerian economy, creating about 170,000 direct and indirect jobs, generating approximately $361 billion during the period of the concession, and generating over $201 billion in revenue for both Lagos State and the Federal Government of Nigeria. The draft of 16.5 metres means it can accommodate larger vessels which will automatically make Nigeria the trans-shipment hub of the region.

“This project is a poster child for how effective global cooperation and collaboration can bridge the infrastructural gap in Nigeria. We thank the government of China which enabled China Harbour Engineering Company and China Development Bank to invest in Lekki Port, and we equally thank the President Muhammadu Buhari government which provided an enabling environment for this investment to flourish,” he said.

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