Enterprise, Mr. Haresh Aswani, in a Notice- to- Proceed ceremony at the weekend released a sum of 58 million USD to China Habour Engineering LFTZ Enterprise (CHELE), a subsidiary of China Habour Engineering Company for the commencement of full construction activities at the Lekki Deep Sea Port sited within Lagos Free Trade Zone in Ibeju-Lekki, a suburb of Lagos State.
Aswani at the ceremony held at the Singapore Embassy in Lagos Nigeria stated that the construction of Lekki port which is currently the largest maritime project in the country, will take a period of 41months.
He put the total contract value for the construction of all marine and land-side infrastructure for Lekki Port at 792 million USD while the entire project which will cost a total of USD 1.65billion.
“The total contract for the construction of all marine and land-side infrastructure for Lekki Port is 792 million USD and we are flagging off the construction today by releasing an advance payment to CHELE for them to commence full construction on the Project. The total project cost of this phase will be 1.65billion USD.”
He added that once Lekki Port which is said to be the deepest sea port in the Sub- Saharan Africa resumes operation in 2019, it will attract Post-Panamax container vessels of up to 10,000TEU, an annual throughput capacity of 1.5million TEUs which would in no time be improved upon to accommodate 2.7million TEUs.
“Lekki Port Project, in addition to solving the long standing congestion problem at existing ports, will create an enabling environment and spur massive investments along the Lagos Free Trade Zone corridor and will have direct positive impact on the overall Nigerian economy. When operational, Lekki Port will generate direct and induced employment for approximately 170,000 persons and will have an economic impact of 361 billion USD over the concession period”, Aswani indicated.
Representing Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) at the event, the Commissioner of Commerce and Industry Mrs. Olushola Oworu who expressed delight that the building of Lekki port is finally beginning stated that the modern port at Ibeju Lekki is a major milestone for Lagos as it will handle the challenges of Apapa and TinCan Island ports.
She disclosed that government earlier studied other ports in Lagos in a bid to identify their deficiencies and has tied the loose ends in the concession agreement for Lekki Port.
Buttressing her point, Oworu said that critical areas of infrastructural management like the regular maintenance of the ports access roads were tackled in the agreement assuring stakeholders that the roads to Lekki port would not become inaccessible and congested.
In his remarks, the Managing Director of Nigeria Ports Authority, Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Ado Bayero describing the occasion as the consummation of the alliance between promoters of the project said that Nigeria needs such huge investments that will generate employment, facilitate trade and drastically reduce congestion of existing ports.
“We need this kind of investment and progress in the economy. Projects like this cannot be found in any other Sub-Saharan Africa and we hope that all the projects benefits; the generation of employment, facilitation of trade, the decongestion of the chronic congestion and hardship the ports especially the ports in Lagos, we hope that as projected, the project will be blessed and be a blessing to all.”
He further expressed gratitude to the project partners especially the Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) for the support and interest of his administration in facilitating the project.
Receiving the cheque of 58million USD, the Managing Director, China Habour Engeering LFTZ Enterprise,Mr. Wang Zhichao assurred stakeholders that his organization will strictly adhere to engineering standards, with a focus of providing first class construction that will make Lekki port a hub port in West Africa.
Zhichao reiterated his organization’s commitment and readiness to overcome any challenge the construction of the port at Lekki portends in a chat with TNMN.
“We have many experiences in China. Recently, in the past 20years, we have handled many projects in Africa. For Nigeria, it’s the first deep sea port. It should be a little challenging, but for us at China Habour, we can handle it.”
Zhichao added that in order not avoid delays; they will be generating their own electricity during the period of construction.
Speaking exclusively to TNMN on how user friendly the port charges would be, The Managing Director, Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise, Mr. Haresh Aswani said the benefits of being situated in a Free Trade Zone and the huge traffic that the Port will attract because of its capacity to handle massive modern vessels will definitely influence charges.
“First of all, we are in the Free Zone. Secondly, we are in the deepest sea port which means you can bring the larger vessels 10, 000 TEUs sizes which means that charges will go lower.”
He said operators of the Port would also work hand in hand with Nigeria Shippers Council to ensure that charges are as friendly as possible.