By Eromosele Abiodun
Abuja – The effort by Nigeria to have a new seaport with better facilities is gathering momentum as the Core of Main Breakwater at the Lekki Deep Sea Port has been completed and construction 50 per cent completed.
The Managing Director, Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Limited, Mr. Du Ruogang, disclosed this recently, during the first quarterly monitoring visit by the Federal Ministry of Transportation to the project site in Lagos.
The Lekki Deep Seaport Project was awarded to the Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Limited by Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on a build-own-operate-and-transfer (BOOT) agreement. Under this agreement, LFTZ is required to develop, finance, build, operate the port for a period of 45 years and transfer it to NPA thereafter. Slated for completion late 2022, the project is the single largest private investment in infrastructure in Nigeria being developed on non-recourse project finance basis with majority of financing being raised internationally.
He said construction of the Lekki Deep Sea Port has reached almost 50 per cent with the completion of the 1,909m long core of the main breakwater while work on the quay wall and landside infrastructure has reached advanced stages.
He added that the significant milestone of the completion of the core of the main breakwater was achieved on April 29, 2021.
During the visit, officials of Federal Ministry of Transportation, Nigeria Ports Authority, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) laud the promoters of the project, stressing that the Nigerian economy would benefit on completion.
The Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise boss while briefing the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani and other key stakeholders in the project, including the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman; the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh and the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer, NSC, Hassan Bello, assured them that the construction would be completed as scheduled with a targeted commercial operations date in fourth quarter of 2022.
He affirmed that the container terminal operator – Lekki Freeport Terminal, a subsidiary of CGM/CMA is ready to commence operations once the construction is completed.
Speaking during the visit, Ajani stated that it was heart-warming to note that the project is moving at a fast pace, assuring all the promoters and stakeholders that the Federal Government would play its part to ensure the smooth take-off of the Port come the last quarter of 2022.
She noted that the progress of work since the initial visit of the ministry in November 2020, is impressive and that the federal government through the Federal Ministry of Transportation would work out modalities of rail connectivity to the port for easy evacuation and transfer of cargo to the different parts of the country.
She also promised to liaise with her counterpart at the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing on the issue of the road network at the corridor to prevent the issue of congestion.
In her remarks, the Managing Director of NPA, Bala-Usman, said NPA would play its part to ensure that the timeline set for the delivery is achieved, adding that efforts were being made to facilitate the deployment of all necessary infrastructure needed before commercial operations begin.
“To meet the timeline for the port, we would deploy the control tower as well as the BTS and GDMS which are critical infrastructure needed for the take-off of the port operations. In addition, we have to begin the construction of the administrative block,” Usman said.
The Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer, NSC, Bello reaffirmed the significance of Lekki Port to the economic prosperity of Nigeria, noting that when completed, the port would be transformational for the country, and indeed the West African maritime landscape.