Lekki Deep Seaport: Putting the Cart before the Horse
As part of efforts to take off pressure from Apapa and Tin Can Island seaports, thereby reducing congestion and enhancing delivery of goods and services, President Mohammadu Buhari, recently inspected the Lekki Deep Seaport.
While this effort was lauded by most Nigerians, some observers however picked holes in the whole process.
The Lekki deep seaport is famed to be three times bigger than the Apapa seaport, unfortunately Lekki Deep Seaport has only one outlet via road which may make mockery of the whole effort and may lead to a logistics disaster that characterized Apapa and Tin Can Port environment over the years.
In a chat with MMS Plus, the Chairman Lagos Chapter, Chartered Institute of Transport Administration (COITA) Nigeria, Dr.Taiwo Salaam, said “Infrastructure should come first before operation” in other words access roads and outlets would have been put in place first before commencement of operation.
According to Dr. Salaam, who is also a former Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Transportation, Apapa seaport has three outlets namely: Mile2 outlet, Marine Bridge outlet, and Ajegunle Orile outlet.
He posited that it is unfortunate that the problems of congestion and free movement of goods and services still persists at Apapa port.
“Lekki Deep Seaport is three times bigger than Apapa Sea port, but it has only one outlet, though construction is currently on going,” Taiwo said.
He frowned at the indifferent attitude of Dangote to the Lekki situation noting that over 3500 trucks will be required to access the to Dangote Refinery with just one outlet on daily basis.
Proffering solutions, he opined that rail lines or pipeline efforts should have been made by Dangote to open other outlets around Ijebu-Ode where tankers could convey the products to hinterlands.
Although President Buhari directed that the Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi to consult and bring up a memorandum to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to link the Lekki deep seaport facility with railway, the seaport is expected to commence operations in September this year with roads as the only mode of cargo evacuation.
It appears the cart has come before the horse in the development of Lekki deep seaport and a logistics quagmire is expected to rock the Lekki environs when the seaport operations commence in five months.
Lekki Deep Sea Port, currently under construction, is a multi-purpose, deep sea port at the heart of the Lagos Free Trade Zone, projected to be one of the most modern ports in West Africa, offering enormous support to the burgeoning commercial operation across Nigeria and the entire West African region.