Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari officially commissioned the $1.5 billion newly completed Lekki Deep Seaport yesterday, located at the Ibeju Lekki area of Lagos State.
The project, an investment in excess of $1.5 billion, is a joint venture between the federal government, through the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Lagos State Government, Tolarams Group (owners of the Lagos Free Zone), and China Harbour Engineering Company
At the ceremony, Buhari led Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State; Minister of Transportation Muazu Sambo; Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Ciu Jianchun; top government officials; and traditional rulers to witness the offloading from the container ship, sailing under the flag of Malta.
With the official commissioning, the port has become eligible to begin commercial operations of receiving imports and shipping exports out from Nigeria, which will begin before the end of first quarter of this year.
Buhari commissioned the much-awaited port after the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) had received the first container vessel operated by the CMA-CGM, which brought cargo to Apapa and Tin-Can Island Ports, and made its way to Lekki Port to take delivery of empty containers used for the shipment of the equipment used during the construction of the port.
The new facility, which construction officially started on June 15, 2020 and completed on Monday, October 24, 2022, is now officially flagged for full commercial operations.
At the ceremony, Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, described the project as the biggest infrastructure in the whole of West Africa, saying it would generate thousands direct and indirect jobs in the country.
The port has three terminals:
- container terminal,
- liquid terminal,
- dry bulk terminal.
According to the officials, the container terminal has an initial draft of 14 metres, with the potential for further dredging to 16.5 metres.
The terminal is able to handle 2.5 million 20-foot standard containers per year.