The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, has applauded the pace of work on the Lekki Deep Seaport project, and expressed hope that services would commence at the port by the last quarter of 2022.
The minister, who undertook an assessment tour of the port site on Sunday, described the level of construction work as “very impressive”, and commended the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for availing the contractors the necessary support.
The minister, who was accompanied by the Acting Managing Director of NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko, and Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers Council, Mr Emmanuel Jime, charged the contractors to sustain the tempo of work.
He specifically enjoined them to re-double their efforts to ensure that the scheduled inaugural date and commencement of cargo operations was achieved, and reminded them of President Mohammadu Buhari’s commitment to delivering efficient port services, in line with international best practices.
Speaking to the project contractors on his observations, he said: “the last time we came, there was no quay wall, just the breakwaters. But today, there are many visible improvements.
“It doesn’t mean that you have delivered; it simply means you will achieve it. The last time we came, your chairman said it wasn’t possible, and I told him wait and see, if it’s not possible, then you know that I am not Minister of Transport.
“We are supposed to commission by September, which is in the old agreement, but if you double your efforts on this job, we can commission (it) by July”.
In his remarks, Mr Laurence Smith, the Chief Operating Officer of Lekki Port/Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ), thanked the minister for the visit, and appealed for increased government support on the construction of access roads to the port location.
He also emphasised the need to link the port to the national railway grid.
Smith acknowledged the support and synergy provided by the NPA management, especially in the procurement of Vessel Tracking System (VTS) for the Lekki channel and other port locations in the country, two 80 tons bollard pull ASG Tugboats, and two pilot boats for deployment to the Lekki Deep Seaport.
Meanwhile, Mr Ibrahim Nasiru, General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications of the NPA, has said that the port would have a truck parking area with a capacity for 300 trucks to avoid indiscriminate parking of trucks on the access road to the port when it becomes operational in the next few months.
In a statement on Sunday, he said that the terminal area, the Customs Building, would have a full-fledged examination bay for proper inspection before trucks are allowed to evacuate the area.
There is also a dedicated area for impounded goods, he added.
It added that construction is ongoing for reefer connections to handle perishable commodities, and erection of light masts which would be 25m high, so that the whole area is fully lit 24hrs daily.
Dredging and reclamation work is now at 89.93 percent completion, quay wall 85.65 percent completion, breakwater 79.66 percent completion, land-side infrastructure, 6.82 percent completion, thus bringing total works carried out on the project to approximately 80 percent completion, the statement added.
Equity owners of the Lekki Deep Seaport are Tolaram Group, China Harbour Engineering Company, Lagos State Government and NPA, (on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria).
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the project, on completion, will be a world class multi-purpose facility, serving as a regional distribution and transshipment hub for West and Central Africa.