Lekki Deep Seaport Makes History As It Berths First Vessel

The $1.5bn Lekki Deep Seaport, on Friday, berthed its first ever vessel ahead of the commencement of commercial operation.

The vessel, ZHEN HUA 28, berthed at 1329hours, delivering three Ship to Shores, STS, and 10 Rubber Tyre Gantries, RTG, cranes that will help in the evacuation of cargoes from vessels to the shore.
The port has an annual cargo tonnage of four million tons, container volume of 2.5million TEUs with three container berths equipped to handle more than 1.8 million TEUs annually.

Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko, noted at the event that the port will be the first fully automated port at take-off in Nigeria when it commences operations. According to him, the successful delivery of the three STS and the RTG cranes was critical to the commencement of operations of the deep seaport.

“…the successful delivery of these three state-of-the art STS cranes and 10 RTG, are very important equipment which are critical to the commencement of operations of the Lekki Deep Seaport. This is historic as it moves us a step closer to birthing Nigeria’s first Deep Seaport and also demonstrates our readiness to take trade facilitation a notch higher.

“The commitment of NPA to providing every support necessary to place Nigeria on the global list of countries with Deep Seaports is unflinching. This is why matters related to the operationalization of Lekki Deep Seaport before the end of this year have been placed on top priority.

He noted that the coming of the facility symbolizes a new positive phase in the country’s port development, adding that NPA, under the guidance of the International Maritime Organization, will deploy the Port Community System, PCS, which will make Nigeria optimise opportunities of the African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA, Agreement to which Nigeria is a signatory.

“For us at the Nigerian Ports Authority the coming on stream of Lekki Deep Sea Port symbolizes a lot of positives. Apart from being Nigeria’s first Deep Seaport, Lekki Port will also be the first fully automated port at take-off. This provides an insight into the path we are already toeing as a management team to govern the operationalization of not just the forthcoming Badagry, Ibom and Bonny Deep Seaports, but also of the reconstruction of the aged Tin-Can Port, where work is set to commence once we secure the necessary approvals from the Federal Ministry of Transportation and FEC respectively.”

“Let me reiterate that automation remains the most veritable tool for assuring Port efficiency, and as most of us are aware, the NPA is working assiduously under the technical guidance of the International Maritime Organization to deploy the Port Community System (PCS), which will enable us respond squarely to the dictates of global trade facilitation and optimize the opportunities of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement to which Nigeria is signatory.

“Our strategic intent of becoming the maritime logistics hub for sustainable ports services in Africa rests heavily on how well we are able deepen our efficiencies through a construction of deep seaports in order to leverage the concomitant benefits of economies of scale. Let me seize this moment to specially appreciate His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Ministry of Transportation for the tremendous backing the NPA has enjoyed leading to this historic exercise,” he added.

Chairman, Lekki Port, Abiodun Dabiri, who pointed out that the port will become operational before the end of the year, added that the delivery of the evacuation equipment, will make Nigeria a shipping hub in West and Central Africa.

According to him, aside from Lekki Deep Seaport, no other seaport in Nigeria can receive the 14m deep vessels that brought the crane into the country.

“…today’s event, will deliver Nigeria as a regional hub for maritime business. The vessel came with major cranes that will help the port operate optimally. No port in Nigeria can receive this type of vessel, also these cranes will transform Nigeria Port and make it a regional hub for shipping.

“When the port becomes operational, it will add value to people’s life, diversification of foreign exchange, and turn around the nation’s maritime business. The port will begin operation before the end of the year,” he said.

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