By G9ija

The construction of the 680-metre long quay wall of the $1.5 billion (around N6 billion) Lekki Deep Seaport, currently under construction at the Lagos Free Trade Zone, Ibeju Lekki, has teed off.

Ruogang Du, chief executive of Lekki Port, said at the flag-off ceremony in Lagos on Wednesday the start of the quay wall piling, which marks a major phase of the seaport project, reputed to be the first deep-water port in West Africa, is an important step towards prompt completion of the project.

Investors and contractors have shown commendable passion for delivering the venture according to schedule, with construction now at full throttle in spite of the delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Du said.

“Developers and investors in Lekki Port have not stopped moving forward. We are actively resuming construction and are striving to fulfil our commitment to officially open the port for operations in the first half of 2023.

“This is a commitment to Lagos and a commitment to Nigeria, and we will do our best to achieve it.”

The port, situated on a 90-hectare epanse, is planned to have a capacity of handling about 6 million twenty-foot equivalent units of containers and an enormous volume of liquid and dry bulk uncontainerised cargoes.

Biodun Dabiri, chair of the Lekki Port board, disclosed that the port would aid the accommodation of the swift expansion of trade currently experienced across West Africa.

“I keep saying that it is an iconic project. From all indications, we are building history here. Some of the piles we are doing today will last for more than 100 years. With all the support from everyone that is here, I believe the port will be safely delivered on time”, he said.

The project has been in the works since the Babatunde Fashola’s administration and has seen series of backs and forths with various shifts in its delivery date.

It attained 50% completion in January and, according to estimates, will generate around 163,000 news jobs.

It is timed to commence operations in 2022, when the first commercial vessel is expected to be berthed.