Nigeria’s quest to turning the Lekki Seaport into a transhipment hub is gathering momentum as the first vessels laden with transhipment and transit cargoes for landlocked countries is set to arrive Nigeria by ending of June.
The cargo laden vessels, according to the managing director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko, would berth at the $1.5bn Lekki Seaport.
Bello-Koko while speaking over the weekend at the commissioning of two 80-Ton Bollard Pull Tug-boats christened M.T MAIKOKO and M.T DA-OPUKURO, for Lekki port, said the agency recently held a meeting with officials from Chad, Niger and Cameroon over movement of their trans-shipment cargoes from Lekki Ports.
The NPA boss, however, stated that, the tugboat would help the country achieve its aim of turning the port into a trans-shipment hub.
“By acquiring these tug boats, which are the largest in Africa, we will be able to bring in vessels of all sizes. What this means is that there would be less waiting time and it will eventually lead to reduction in cargo dwell time. We already have interest from other African countries that about two weeks ago, we had a meeting with officials from Chad, Niger and Cameroon and the idea is to see how we can start moving their cargoes from Nigeria to their ports.
“These countries are looking for a port that will reduce waiting time for cargoes and also have right protocols put in place. These tug boats that were commissioned for Lekki Port will help us achieve our aim of turning the port into a trans-shipment hub. I know that trans-shipment cargoes should come into Lekki Port maybe in the next three weeks.
“With this tug boats, we will tug in any vessel, no matter the size. So this means we will take back businesses from neighboring countries and the cargo going hitherto going to other countries will come back. What we are doing today is a demonstration of this administration’s resolve to position the NPA and respond squarely to the contemporary demands of trade facilitation,” he pointed out.
The NPA boss, however, stated that, the resolve of the NPA to deploy Lekki Deep Seaport as launch pad for trans-shipment remains unwavering.
“In addition to positively affecting the turnaround time of large vessels, their deployment will enable stakeholders leverage the concomitant benefits of economies of scale, especially cost savings.
“Permit me to seize this opportunity to reiterate that our drive towards deploying Lekki Deep Seaport as launch pad for trans-shipment remains unwavering and this event today is confirmation of our doggedness on this noble cause.
“Let me conclude by assuring all consignees, concessionaires and other stakeholders of continuous improvement in service delivery from the Nigerian Port Authority,”
Speaking earlier, the permanent secretary, Federal Ministry Of Transportation, Dr Magdalene Ajani, said, the purchase of the two Tug boats by the NPA has accentuated the determination of the ministry to boost port operational efficiency.
“My joy derives from the fact that the acquisition of these equipment, amongst many others that are in the works, signposts Nigeria’s seriousness to optimize the opportunities inherent in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement to which we are signatory.
“Maximising the comparative advantages that our maritime assets as a littoral nation confers rests heavily on how much we are able to deepen our efficiencies through the deployment of relevant technology and equipment,” the permanent secretary said.
She applauded the NPA management for delivering on the project in good time, saying it would support the optimisation of the Lekki Seaport.