The Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi has said the reason for asking the president to come inspect the $1.5billion Lekki deep seaport project was to put pressure on the developers to complete it quickly.
Amaechi stated this yesterday, when President Muhammadu Buhari visited the seaport for quick inspection as he left immediately for the commission of the Murtala Muhammed Airport terminal in Lagos.
He said the president’s inspection is to also publicise the project for people to know that this government is building the first deep seaport in Nigeria, noting that other ports in Nigeria are all river ports.
He said the effect of the constant inspection of the port has hastened its completion.
Amaechi said the port is almost ready, adding that but for the installation of the equipment, the seaport would have been ready before June.
“They said the equipment is arriving by June and installation will take them till September and then it can be commissioned in September.
“You see the miracle of bringing the president here, that is why it is important for a president to inspect projects; that it hastens the process of completion, if there is money,” he said.
The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko, said with the Lekki Deep Seaport, which has been under construction for years, some of the businesses lost to other neighbouring West African countries due to draught limitation will be regained.
He said there will be employment creation and increased revenue for the government.
He said it will also create competition and compel other terminal operators to up their games to reduce cargo dwell time at their terminals.
The NPA helmsman said Apapa and Tin-Can Island Ports have been operating far beyond their capacity, which means that the excess cargoes that have been going there would be diverted to Lekki Port.
On the connectivity of the port to the rail line, Bello-Koko said there is already a plan and the Minister of Transportation has given the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) a directive to carry out a survey on the possibility of linking the port to Lagos-Ibadan railway.
Bello-Koko, who noted that the commencement of Lekki Port will reduce the rate of traffic at Apapa and Tin-Can Island Ports, said there will be Ship-to-Shore (STS) cranes that will enable faster processing of goods.
The Executive Director, Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Emmanuel Jime, said most of the ports in other parts of the country are not deep seaports that can attract ocean-going vessels.
He said this is the first deep seaport the country would have, adding that the country has vessels that have never berthed in the nation’s ports due to the draft level of other ports.
Jime said with the automation processes at the port, businesses and service delivery will be efficient and will be cost effective.
He said the port will have a tremendous impact on reducing the cost of doing business, especially in the clearing processes and the delay due to human traffic.