In January 2023, Nigeria added another port facility to its list of seaports in the country. Prior to the commissioning of the Lekki Deep Seaport by President Muhammadu Buhari on 23 January 2023, Nigeria had six major seaports, namely, Lagos Port Complex (Lagos State), Tin Can Island Port Complex (Lagos State) Calabar Port Complex (Cross Rivers State), Rivers Port Complex (Rivers State), Onne Port (Rivers State) and Delta Port, Warri (Delta State).
The Lekki Deep Sea Port commenced full commercial operations on 6 April 2023. The Port is not only Nigeria's first deep seaport but also Nigeria's first fully automated port equipped with Super Post-Panamax ship-to-shore cranes and Rubber tyre gantry (RTG) cranes. The port will accommodate vessels carrying up to 15,000 containers. The port is also well equipped with highly sophisticated 13 quay cranes for a capacity of 2.5 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) on a 1.2-kilometre quay with a depth of 16 meters, one of the largest in West Africa. The port is self-sufficient in required electricity, as it is ready to generate up to 10 megawatts with a total capacity of 16 megawatts.
The Lekki Deep Sea Port is promoted by LFTZ Enterprise Limited (LPLEL), a joint venture among the Investment Holdings Inc. (comprising China Harbour Engineering Company Limited (CHEC) and Singapore-based FMCG giant, Tolaram Group), the Lagos State Government and the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
In his remarks at the commissioning ceremony of the port, the Managing Director of Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Limited (LPLEL), Mr Du Ruogang, stated that the port will facilitate trade volume growth for Nigeria, increase the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) improve external trade competitiveness through improved port efficiency, enhance cost-effective port operations services, and improve turnaround time for cargo handling and clearance, reduce delays in the supply of raw materials and equipment, and reduce costs of importations and charges, such as demurrage, among other benefits.
The Lekki Deep Seaport is no doubt a huge statement about Nigeria's commitment to promoting a blue economy diversified from reliance on oil and gas as the main sources of revenue. The completion of the port is also a huge infrastructural milestone toward Nigeria's implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) objective of improving trade facilitation measures to significantly drive down trade time and cost by 80% by 2035. The port is a milestone achievement in terms of foreign direct investment in Nigeria. It is hoped that these lofty objectives will be fully realized.
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