First ship moored on the high seas in Lekki with equipment
The significance and impact of Lekki Port operations in Nigeria is that the port is nearing the start of commercial service
By Uzor Odigbo
Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Chief Executive Officer Mohammed Bello-Koko with his management team joined by Lekki Free Trade Zone management, LFTZ and others to happily receive the first berth from ship to port.
The vessel, ZHEN HUA 28, is owned by Shanghai Zhenhua Port Machinery (Hong Kong) Co., Ltd, operated by Shanghai Zhenhua Shipping Co. Ltd, with Bolloré/Alraine as agent.
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The 35-year-old vessel arrived in port with rubber gantry cranes of 3nos and 10 nos respectively and other essential port equipment to facilitate commercial activities at the deep sea port of Lekki.
Bello Koko, visibly excited to welcome the vessel and her crew, said: “The arrival of this vessel is historic as it brings us closer to the birth of Nigeria’s first deep sea port and also demonstrates our commitment to take trade facilitation much higher”.
“The commitment of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to provide all necessary support to place Nigeria on the global list of countries with deep seaports is unwavering. This is why issues related to the operationalization of Lekki Deep Seaport before the end of this year have been placed in priority”.
“Allow me to take this moment to especially thank His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Ministry of Transport for the tremendous support the NPA has received in carrying out this historic exercise.”
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On the significance and impact of Lekki Port on port operations in Nigeria as the port nears the start of commercial service, the NPA Boss said, “For us at NPA, the commissioning of the deep sea port of Lekki symbolizes a lot of positives. ”. Apart from being Nigeria’s first deep water port, Lekki Port will also be the first fully automated take-off port.
“It provides insight into the path we are already following as a management team to govern the operationalization of not only the future ports of Badagry, Ibom and Bonny Deep Seaports, but also the reconstruction of the old Tin-Can Port, where the job is defined. begin once we have obtained the necessary approvals from the Federal Department of Transportation and the Federal Executive Council, FEC, respectively.”
“Let me reiterate that automation remains the truest tool for ensuring port efficiency and, as most of us know, NPA works diligently under the technical guidance of the International Maritime Organization to deploy the Port Community System (PCS), which will enable us to squarely respond to the dictates of global trade facilitation and maximize the opportunities of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement to which Nigeria is a signatory.
“Our strategic intent to become the maritime logistics hub for sustainable port services in Africa rests in large part on our ability to deepen our efficiencies through the construction of deep-sea ports to leverage the co-benefits of economics. ‘scale,” Bello Koko said.
While thanking and congratulating the stakeholders for the successful docking of the first vessel at the high seas port of Lekki, Mr. Mohammed Bello-Koko requested their support and collaboration in efforts to facilitate trade in Nigeria.
President of LFTZ, Mr. Abiodun Dabiri also welcomed the arrival of the handling equipment. He thanked the Federal and Lagos State Governments, NPA, China Harbor for their commitment to the development and operationalization of the port.
He was delighted that the arrival of this batch of equipment reaffirms the hope of the management of LFTZ on the start of operations at the port of Lekki before the end of the year.
Hopefully, with events escalating at the LDSP, securing elusive cargo hub status could become a reality and cargo diversion a thing of the past.