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Lekki port to reduce Apapa congestion, boost bilateral trade

By on May 13, 2013

Respite may be in sight for many users of the Apapa ports as the congestion problem in the ports may soon be addressed with the near conclusion of the Lekki Port project.

Specifically, The Guardian gathered that going by the accelerated pace of work on the project, the Lekki port may become operational by the third quarter of 2016.
Indeed, industry watchers and stakeholders believe that the project would aid Nigeria’s maritime sector in witnessing a major boost translating into rapid economic growth for the country, which would also help shape trade business for good in the entire West African region and by extension Africa as whole.

The port, which is to be located in the Lagos Free Trade Zone at the Lekki sub region is a Build, Own and Transfer (BOT) plan and has been vetted by the relevant regulators.

Speaking during a media tour of the facility in Lekki at the weekend, the Managing Director of Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise, Haresh Aswani, explained that the Lekki Port, conceptualized as a multi-product industrial and logistics hub would spread across 90 hectares of land and shall be built at an estimated cost of $1.55 billion, noting that so far, the aggregate committed amount to date is $800million while 33 out of 36 project permits have already been secured.

He further said the deep-sea port which will be located 65 km east of Lagos Mainland would become the gateway to West African region which would be one of the most efficient and modern maritime facilities that will cater to containerized, liquid and dry bulk cargo par international standards.

“In addition to bridging the capacity deficit, Lekki Port will have significant positive macroeconomic impact estimated at $361 billion over the entire concession period. It is expected to contribute more than $200 billion to the government exchequer while also creating close to 170,000 new jobs in the economy. Furthermore, Lekki Port will spur the economic development around the Lekki sub-region and on a wider perspective, the whole of Lagos State through rapid industrialization”, he added.

He further said: “In a bid to ensure, smooth and efficient operations, Lekki Port has engaged the services of leading global consultants in the mould of The Louis Berger Group Inc., Delta Marine Consultants, Berger ABAM and TBA Netherlands and the container terminal has been sub-concessioned to International Container Terminal Services, Inc, Philippines.

“The EPC construction contract has been issued on a turnkey basis to China Harbour Engineering Company which mobilized their men and machinery in August, 2012 and is already in the last lap of pre-construction investigations and site preparation activities”.

He added that Lekki Port has been conceptualized on the basis of a significant gap in projected demand and capacity needed to be met in conveying goods to and from Nigeria.
“It is however important to mention that demand is attractively high but the available capacity is not sufficient to meet this demand, that is why the economic viability of Lekki Port is founded on this un-met demand. Industry experts also reiterate that Lekki Port once operational shall play a significant role in easing out the congestion at existing Nigerian Ports”.

Aswani also pointed out, that the strategic location, optimal layout and modern facilities provide Lekki Port a distinct competitive edge over any other port facility in the West African region.

The Lekki port boss noted that “Lagos State Government’s and Nigerian Ports Authority’s (NPA) involvement as shareholders in this project, demonstrate both, their interest in the success of Lekki Port and their confidence in the Public-Private Partnership model, intended to bridge the gap in the infrastructure domain which is pivotal to the overall growth of Nigeria’s economy”.

“Our commitment to ensuring that we meet the scheduled operational date has seen us spare nothing in achieving it and as at today, we are happy to confidently say that all market engineering and impact studies have been completed over the last 6 years, likewise the Lekki port site has been gazetted as port area by the federal government. It is pertinent to also note that the Environmental Impact Assessment study (EIA) has been fully completed with IFC/World Bank guideline.

“Container terminal sub-concession has been awarded to International Common User Terminal Operator (ICTSI) focusing on emerging markets after a tedious competitive bidding. Also, Shareholders agreement has been signed between the sponsors, NPA and the Lagos State Government. We are very much on course and in no distant time Nigerians, the entire West African region and Africa as a whole, would witness a revolution never seen before in the maritime sector”.