• Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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Buhari inspects construction site of $1.5bn Lekki Port due for completion in September

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President Muhammadu Buhari has on Tuesday in Lagos, inspected the ongoing construction works at the project site of $1.5 billion Lekki Deep Seaport.

Mr. President and his entourage inspected the ongoing massive work at the breakwater, quay walls, container terminal and other landside infrastructure after commissioning the Dangote Fertiliser Plant located very close to the Lekki Port.

Speaking to newsmen during the presidential visit to Lekki Port, Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation, said the reason for asking Mr President to come is to publicise the first deep seaport in Nigeria and to encourage the developer to fast track the construction works in order to meet the delivery timeline.

“The port is almost ready, if not for the equipment, they can actually get this place ready before June. But they said the equipment is arriving by June and installation will take them till September. We can commission in September,” Amaechi said.

On the status of other ports in Nigeria, Amaechi said the government needs to either rehabilitate ports like Warri, Port Harcourt or build new ones, adding that work would soon commence in Bonny Deep Seaport before the end of this year.

“The Ibom Deep Seaport has gotten the government’s approval and we are fast tracking the one of Badagry so they can also get their approval. Before we leave office, all of them would have been granted approvals,” he said.

On his part, Mohammed Bello-Koko, managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), said the Lekki Deep Seaport, which has been under construction for years, would be ready for test run in September this year after which the first commercial visit can be received at the port.

According to him, the port is located on about 90 hectare of land, supposed to have three container terminals and will be the first automated port in Nigeria that will enable speedy clearing of goods.

Bello-Koko, who noted that the commencement of Lekki Port will reduce the rate of traffic at Apapa and Tin-Can Island Ports, said there will be Ship-to-Shore (STS) cranes that will enable faster processing of goods.

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“Some of the businesses we have lost to other neighbouring West African countries due to drought limitation will be regained. There will be employment creation and increased revenue for the government. It will create competition and compel other terminal operators to up their games to reduce cargo dwell time at their terminals. Apapa and Tin-Can Island Ports have been operating far beyond their capacity which means that the excess cargoes that have been going there would be diverted to Lekki Port,” he explained.

On the connectivity of the port to the rail line, Bello-Koko said there is already a plan and the Minister of Transportation has given the Nigerian Railway Corporation a directive to carry out a survey on the possibility of linking the port to Lagos-Ibadan railway.

Emmanuel Jime, executive secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), who expressed concern over the availability of the necessary infrastructure needed for quick evacuation of cargo, said the Lekki Port will cut down time of doing business and will save the cost of delivering services.

“It is clear to me that we need to understand very quickly that there is an urgent need to improve on the quality of infrastructure in a way that will actually complement the kind of businesses that this port is going to deliver to the nation,” he advised.