Sunday, December 14, 2008

NPA, Lagos approve $6 billion first deep sea port

THE promoters of the Lagos (Lekki) Free Trade Zone (LFTZ) have received the approval of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Lagos State government to build the first private and deep sea port in Lekki, 60 kilometres away from the Lagos metropolis. It would cost them $6 billion on completion.

According to the Project Director, Mr. Peter Banham, the port would be ready for commercial activities in 2011 to fully contribute to the success of the Federal Government's Vision 2020 goal. The vision is aimed at making the country one of the 20 top economies in the world.

Banham, who addressed newsmen in Lagos over the weekend, said the port would operate as a hub port besides being the first deep seaport in the country.

The port on completion, would be involved in containers, general cargoes and grains operations.

"The rationale behind the port is to provide a deep water port for Nigeria and allow larger vessels to berth. It is also to relieve the congestion in Lagos/Apapa ports. The site at Lekki is most ideally located to accommodate deep drafted vessels. The undersea contours allow the building of a deep channel most economically at Lekki. Also the port is located to take advantage of the future development of the new Lagos Free Trade Zone", he said.

Banham, who has been in shipping business for over four decades now, said everything has been concluded to enable the construction contract to be awarded in March 2009 as the channel dredging would hopefully commence in July 2010, he added.

According to him: "Phase one will be between 1.2/1.4 million TEUS (20' containers) and approx capable of handling 3,000,000 tons of break-bulk cargo. Phase two, when more land becomes available the port could handle over 2m TEUS, 3,000,000 tons of Bulk and up to 1M tones of liquid cargoes. Apart from approval by the NPA, and Lagos State government, the port project is privately owned and funded", he said.

The Guardian had reported that a group of foreign investors were concluding plans to establish the first deep sea and first hub port in Lagos, Nigeria. It would cost a whooping $6 billion on completion.

The port, being sponsored by investors from the United Kingdom and India and who are already operating multi-national companies in the country, would be ready for public use by the year 2010.

Many of the new port promoters told disclosed that it would be located within the Lagos Free Trade Zone in Lekki area of the metropolis.


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