FG gives hope of rail connection to $1.5bn Lekki Port, commends NPA

Determined to ensure effective evacuation of cargo in and out of the port, the Federal Government has given potential users of Lekki Port fresh hope of linking the $1.5 billion Lekki Deep Seaport by rail.

Mu’azu Sambo, the minister of transportation, raised fresh hope by directing the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), and promoters of the port, to take urgent steps toward ensuring that the port is linked by rail.

The minister gave the directive during his first official visit to the Lekki Deep Seaport in Lagos at the weekend.

Lekki Port, due for completion and commencement of operations before the end of this year, has put serious doubts in the minds of potential users as to how cargoes would be evacuated from port relying on only roads.

Therefore, connecting the seaport to rail, would not only help to clear those doubts by ensuring that there is no replication of the Apapa congestion problem in Lekki but would also help to ensure efficient port operations.

Sambo, who expressed delight at the pace and quality of work at the port site, also commended the management of the NPA for the support provided to Lekki Port in meeting the project timelines.

Mohammed Bello-Koko, the managing director of NPA, said the deep seaport is close to becoming operational.

“The letter of intent between Lekki Deep Seaport and its financial partners was signed in April 2019, and by 2022, we are close to operationalisation. This project symbolises the possibilities that tenacity of purpose can actualise,” he said.

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He added that NPA remains unwavering in providing every support and facilitation necessary to ensure that the timelines for the port takeoff are met.

Du Ruogang, the managing director of Lekki Deep Seaport, disclosed that the construction work for phase one of the port project is nearing completion and is currently at about 96 percent completion.

“The Lekki Port team together with the Lekki Freeport Terminal is working hard to ensure that construction is completed in September 2022, and thereafter, start port operations before the end of the year,” he said.

Highlighting the game-changing features of the port, Ruogang said, the port upon completion will have three container berths, three liquid berths, and a storage yard with over 15,000 ground slots terminal designed to support a throughput of 2.7 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of containers annually.

He said the port would also have a dry bulk terminal with an available quay length of about 300m among other distinctive attributes.

The Lekki Deep Seaport is expected to place Nigeria on the global list of nations with Deep Seaports. It will also position the country to maximise its comparative advantages including maritime endowments and littoral assets confer.

Already, the seaport has berthed two ships with equipment for cargo handling at the port. With the coming of the second shipment, the number of cranes at the port has now totalled five ship-to-shore cranes and 15 Rubber Tyred Gantry cranes.

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