LAGOS State government has succeeded in securing loan of $629m from China to finance the ongoing Lekki Deep Sea Port Enterprise Limited (LPLEL) aimed at opening up Nigeria’s Atlantic seaboard and easing the chronic congestion at Apapa.
One of the most congested ports in the world, Apapa has become an environmental disaster as apart from the fact that there are huge delays in unloading cargo, the road to the port is virtually a lorry and trailer park. To ease the congestion, the Lagos State government began building a new port at nearby Lekki and is planning to attach a railway line to it, so as to avoid the trailer and lorry congestion.
Lekki deep sea port is being built over 90 hectares of land at the centre of the Lekki Free Trade Zone, approximately 60km east of Lagos. It is the first deepsea port to be built in Nigeria under a Built Own and Transfer agreement.
Construction of the initial budgeted $1.5bn, building began in December 2017 and the project is expected to be completed in 2023 after been reviewed. A multi-purpose port, it will have container, liquid and dry bulk terminals to serve vessels of up to 8,000TEUs, dry bulk vessels and liquid bulk cargo vessels.
In addition, a 9km-long and 19 metre-deep navigation channel and a 600m-wide turning basin will be built to allow vessels to approach or leave the port. A 1,500m breakwater structure and a 300m secondary breakwater structure will be constructed for safe handling of vessels.
Other facilities at the port will include a 6km-long and 14.5m-deep approach channel, quay wall, cargo handling cranes, and three 19m-deep liquid jetties. When operational, the Lekki deepsea port is expected to be one of the most modern ports in West Africa and support the growth of commercial operations in the region as well as serve as alternative to Apapa Ports.
Dr Lola Akande, the Lagos State commissioner for commerce, industry and cooperatives, said the loan secured from the China Development Bank, is to support and facilitate the construction, development of the gigantic project. She explained that the project has provided job opportunities to 611 local people.
She added: “Current completion percentage as at February 2021 stood at 47%. Trial operations of the port is slated for third quarter of year 2022, while commercial operations is slated for first quarter of year 2023.”