With the deployment of the CMA/CGM West Africa Express (WAX) service direct from China to Lagos, the $1.5 billion Lekki Port has become critical to growing the trade volume between Nigeria and China.
The volume of bilateral trade between Nigeria and China stood at $22.6 billion in 2023, according to statistics from the Chinese Customs Authority.
Yan Yuqing, the representative of the Chinese ambassador in Nigeria and the Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Lagos, disclosed this in Lagos on Monday at the arrival ceremony of CMA CGM Scandola, the largest container vessel to call Nigerian Port.
Yuqing said that China maintained its position as the top global trading partner and Nigeria stands as the third-largest trading partner for China in Africa.
“One of the notable highlights is that Nigeria’s export to China has also witnessed a year-on-year growth of about 50 percent in 2023,” she said.
She said Nigeria was the outstanding pilot nation for the Belt and Road Initiative, making a community with a shared future for China-Nigeria more stable and robust.
According to her, the arrival of CMA CGM Scandola at Lekki Port with a capacity to carry 15,000 twenty equivalent units (TEUs) directly from China not only carries goods from across the ocean but also makes the corporation between China and Nigeria shine brighter.
“The Lekki Deep Seaport is a significant milestone in the high-quality joint construction of the Belt and Road, (an initiative that supports Africa’s industralisation) between China and Nigeria. We are pleased to see it playing a positive role in Nigeria’s national modernisation development.
“In recent years, the cooperation between China and Nigeria in the field of airport, port, railway, road, communication network and other infrastructure has made great achievement. Projects such as the Blue and Red Line Light Rail, the Lagos-Ibadan Railway, and the international airport give us a glimpse of Lagos accelerating into a globally attractive supercity,” Yuqing said.
Also speaking, Hinelder Ferreira, managing director, CMACGM Nigeria Shipping Limited, said 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 call in West Africa.
Ferreira said that 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.
Biodun Dabiri, chairman of Lekki Port said the WAX service represented a leap in the efficiency and capacity of maritime transport in Nigeria.