By G9ija

The Nigerian Ports Authority on Monday described the Lekki Deep Sea Port in Lagos State as a model for other deep sea ports in the country.

Its Managing Director, Mohammed Bello-Koko, spoke at the official inauguration of the port by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Bello-Koko said that the Lekki Deep Sea Port was the deepest and most modern port in the country that can accommodate bigger vessels and cargoes.

“This will be a model for other deep sea ports in Nigeria and I say congratulations to the investors and the project delivery team, the Lekki Port management team, for a job well done,” he said.

Bello-Koko also appreciated President Buhari for the necessary approval and the Federal Ministry of Transportation for making the project a reality.

He said: “Recall that the port has been in the drawing board for over 10 years, four years ago when we came here it was just a sand-filled area.

“Today, we are talking about the commissioning and we thank the President for the approval given to make this happen.”

He noted that the Lekki Deep Port was just the beginning of greater things in the sector.

Bello-Koko said that the NPA as the regulator would be responsible for providing marine services and others needed to ensure seamless service delivery.

Also, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, said Nigeria had seen the emergenc of one of the best ports in West Africa.

Jamoh said: “Today, we are seeing the realisation of the commissioning of the best port in African that is expected to inject not less than $360 billion and provide employment to not less than 190,000 Nigerians.

“Secondly, we have seen dedication and political will on this project.

“This project commenced and started by this administration with sincerity of purpose.”

Also in his contribution, Emmanuel Jime, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council, noted that he was glad to witness the delivery of what would be the game-changer in the maritime industry.

Jime congratulated the Federal Ministry of Transportation and all the stakeholders involved in the delivery of the Lekki Deep Sea Port.

The Chairman of China Harbour Engineering Company, Tang Qiaoliang, noted that the port would improve the Nigerian port industry, ease burden of cargo shipment flow, create employment and promote international trade.

Qiaoliang said: “As an international top-tier engineering contractor, investment operator, urban developer and ecological manager, CHEC insists to its philosophy ‘value-orientation’, commits itself to upgrading of ‘platform plus industrial leading’ strategy.

“With such strategy, we see the opportunity in Nigeria, and believe in its potential.

“So, we committed the adequate financial investment and essential technology, together with Nigerians in the construction and operation of the port.

“Under the framework of the China Africa Forum and the Belt and Road Initiative, we look forward to establishing a long-term strategic partnerships, in the infrastructure sector with the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

Oiaoliang noted that the project would deepen the bilateral trade and cooperation between Nigeria and China.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Limited is a joint venture enterprise owned by foreign promoters, Lekki Port Investment Holdings Inc (comprising China Harbour Engineering Company Limited and Tolaram), the Lagos State Government and the Federal Government.

LPLEL is incorporated under the Companies and Allied Matters Act regime and licensed by the Lagos Free Zone to operate in the Free Zone under the NEPZ Act.

This opens a host of benefits for Lekki Port regarding taxes, duties and other incentives.

The Lekki Port is a multi-purpose Deep Sea Port at the heart of the Lagos Free Trade Zone, one of the most modern ports, supporting the burgeoning trade across Nigeria and the entire West African region.

The shareholders of this visionary project are the NPA, Lagos State Government, China Harbour Engineering Company and Tolaram.