CMA CGM Scandola, an LNG-powered 14,812 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) container vessel, has berthed at Lekki Deep Seaport – Nigeria’s most modern and deepest seaport.
The arrival of the vessel was witnessed by stakeholders of Lekki Port, Lekki Freeport Terminal, CMA CGM, top government officials, captains of industries, and the media with lots of excitement.
The CMA CGM Scandola has an overall length (LOA) of 366 meters and a width of 51 meters, and it is the first LNG-powered container vessel to sail to West Africa, arriving first in Tema before coming to Lekki Port.
Lekki Port is the only port in Nigeria with the facilities to receive such large container vessels.
Speaking during the arrival ceremony, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos State, commended the management of Lekki Port, Lekki Freeport Terminal, and CMA CGM for raising the bar in the Nigerian maritime industry by recording several remarkable milestones since the official commissioning of the Port a year ago.
“As a responsive government and shareholder of this port, we are very proud of the achievement of Lekki Port since its inauguration a year ago. This port and the entire Lekki economic zone hold the key to the economic prosperity of our state and our country as a whole. We have addressed the road infrastructure within the Lekki axis to aid cargo evacuation, and we will continue to support the Port and, indeed, all the businesses within the free zone to attain their full potential,” he said.
Adegboyega Oyetola, minister of Marine and Blue Economy, represented by Mohammed Bello-Koko, managing director of the Nigerian Port Authority, said the berthing of an LNG-powered largest vessel is in line with the vision of the Ministry to facilitate trade and enhance the economic fortunes of the country.
In his welcome address, Biodun Dabiri, chairman of Lekki Port, said the commencement of WAX service represents a strong leap in the efficiency and capacity of maritime transport in Nigeria.
“This marks a major step in driving economic growth, seamless movement of goods, fostering international trade and strengthening Lekki Port’s position as a key player in the global market,” he said.
He appealed to President Tinubu to connect Lekki Port to the National Rail Network for an additional means of cargo evacuation, adding that the connection of Lekki Port to the national railway network would enhance the port’s operations and ensure that the entire country benefits from the Port.
Hinelder Ferreira, managing director of CMA CGM Nigeria Shipping Limited, explained that the containership, which is a 366-metre Length Overall (LOA) with a capacity for 15,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), ranks among the first largest LNG-powered vessel to be calling in West Africa.
Ferreira said by deploying these biomethane and e-methane-ready container ships, the CMA CGM Group had demonstrated once again its commitment to support West Africa’s supply chains by increasing deployed capacity, as well as the group’s role as a pioneer to decarbonise shipping and logistics in the region and worldwide.
He disclosed that the group had invested close to $15 billion in decarbonising its fleet, which is currently operating 35 dual-fuel LNG-powered containerships and will have almost 120 vessels capable of being powered by decarbonised fuels by 2028.
Du Ruogang, chief executive officer of Lekki Port, described the arrival of the ship as a significant milestone which is part of the CMA CGM West Africa Express (WAX) service direct from China to Lekki Port and a testament to the commitment CMA CGM and Lekki Freeport Terminal have to ensure that Lekki Port is a significant player in the global Port industry.
“With the arrival of the WAX service, we are confident that Lekki Port will play a major role in the Nigerian maritime sector by boosting the economy and enhancing the ease of doing business in Nigeria,” he said.
Christophe Cassang, chief executive officer of Lekki Freeport Terminal (LFT), a subsidiary of the CMA CGM Group, disclosed that the berthing of the vessel is in line with the terminal’s long-term strategy and commitment to reducing environmental impact.
Cassang said the terminal is open for business for the global maritime community by implementing new processes and methods.
He said the Lekki Freeport Terminal has been built to international standards, using cutting-edge technologies to streamline operations with speed and precision.