Landlocked countries of Chad, Mali and Niger Republic have indicated interest in routing their cargoes through Nigeria, as the Lekki Deep Seaport gets set for operations Friday, September 16, 2022.
The Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko, who disclosed this while addressing journalists, said the commencement of port operations would make Nigeria wrest lost transit cargoes from neighboring countries.
“By the 15th of this month, Lekki deep seaport will have completed installation of its equipment, so we can say the port is ready by 15th of September, however, this is the first time in a long time that a new port will be set up in Nigeria.
“A port with different system, different IT deployment that we don’t have currently in Nigeria will be at Lekki. No port currently in Nigeria has a Ship To Shore Crane. The IT system they have has minimal human interaction that you will do your clearance, other clearance processes from your office and finishes everything, containers will be identified using digital information system.
“From 16th of September, they will start dry runs and testing. They are recruiting and probably have finished recruiting Nigerians that will work there and they need to train them on how to use the cranes and how to use the digital system, clearing system and all that and that take a lot of time, so from our interactions with them, as far as we are concerned, Lekki deep seaport is ready we are there when two vessels brought in the cranes and other equipment.
The marine services will be provided by the NPA, pilot cutters and mooring boats and so on. The Nigeria Customs will be there. The President, few weeks ago, approved and designated Lekki deep seaport as a port of destination. It has full compliment of a port and vessels can come from outside the country, berth and as well do rummaging and go,” he said.
Koko also said the Authority with the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), are working on affordable tariffs for land locked transit cargoes that will be imported into Nigeria when the Lekki Deep Seaport becomes operational.
According to him, landlocked countries such as Mali, Chad, and Niger Republic have indicated an interest in moving their cargoes through the new ports.
“The Niger Republic as a country formerly imported their cargoes through Nigeria Ports. Mali is also interested and there are entities of neighboring countries that are interested in bringing in their cargoes, but ours is to reach out as far as possible.
“We are encouraging the port management in Warri and Calabar, in particular, to go to Cameroon and there was a business that came to the port because of the engagement our port managers had with importers in Cameroon so we will keep pushing these multilateral and cross border agreement and where we need the assistance of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Transportation, we will let them know.