NPA Allays Many Fears Of Stakeholders Over Lekki Deep Sea Port
Nigerian Ports Authority(NPA) has allayed the fears of operators and stakeholders that the Lekki Deep Seaport will increase the cost of doing business at ports.
In a Communique issued at the end of a one-day retreat and lecture organized by the League of Maritime Editors, participants were informed that the deep seaport would be hosting post-panamax vessels which will lead to the reduction in the cost per container box when compared with the existing ports in Lagos as it leverages on economies of scale.
The participants present at the event with the theme:”Lekki Deep Seaport-Identifying Gains,Challenges, and Potential Threats to Lagos Ports” held recently in Ikeja Lagos also noted that the Lekki Deep Seaport would position Lagos as a new maritime logistics hub in West Africa while also helping Nigeria to maintain full economic leadership in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACfTA). Likewise, the 16.5meters deep seaport would benefit local communities by creating massive jobs, directly and indirectly.
In the communiqué issued by the League of Maritime Editors signed by Eguono Odjegba, some participants noted that the level of preparedness for the commercial take-off of the Lekki Deep Seaport Q1 2023 would be a game changer, only if the critical missing infrastructure for proper cargo evacuation such as adequate road networks, rail connectivity and enhanced barge operations are put in place, the benefits of the 1.6 meter seaport remains an illusion. According to these participants, this would enable the port to avoid replicating the heightened gridlock in Apapa port.
It was also recommended that the existing ports in Lagos: Lagos Port Complex, Apapa and Tin Can Island Port should be encouraged to serve as feeder ports in order to retain their attractiveness in the face of the emergence of Lekki seaport. Furthermore, stakeholders at the event beckoned on the government to grant the Nigerian Ports Authority revenue remittance holiday and a few years moratorium to enable the authority channel revenue generated into rehabilitating broken down parts infrastructures as quay aprons and the port access roads.
However, in all participants were unanimous that the key features of the Lekki Seaport viz-a-vis its berth depth of 16.5m considered as the deepest in the sub-region, its state-of-the-art modern cargo-handling equipment including six (6) Ship-to-Shore Gantry Cranes with a reach of 21 Containers and twin-lift capability, modern scanners etc will attract large ocean vessels and lead to expanded trade volume and trade facilitation.
The NPA helmsman, Mohammed Bello-Koko presented a paper titled: “Lekki Deep Seaport: Gains, Challenges and Potential Threat To Lagos Port”, the Comptroller General of Customs, and his Commanders from the Apapa Area Command and Federal Operations Unit Zone A and Zone B, respectively, including Chairman of the Occasion, Mrs. Ezenwa, made robust interventions as well as offered goodwill messages.
In attendance were: the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, Mohammed Bello-Koko, represented by the Assistant General Manager, Operations, Mr. Ayo Durojaiye; the Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col Hammed Ali (Rtd), represented by the Coordinator of Lagos Zonal Headquarters, Assistant Comptroller General Modupe Aremu; Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, represented by Director, Special Duties, Mr. Isitchie Osamgbi; Chairperson of the Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Dr. Vicky Haastrup, represented by STOAN Spokesman, Dr. Bolaji Akinola; and Mrs. Chinwe Ezenwa, former Director Federal Ministry of Transportation and former Managing Director of the National Inland Waterways Authority, who chaired the occasion.
Equally in attendance was the Chairman of Skell as Group, Prince Olayiwola Shittu, represented; Treasurer, Nigeria Union of Journalist, Okereke Silva; President of the Association of Maritime Journalists of Nigeria (AMJON), Mr. Paul Ogbuokiri, Acting President of the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria (MARAN), Gboyega Oni; President of the Maritime Journalists Association of Nigeria, Mr. Ray Ugochukwu; and President, Alhaji Tunde Umar. Also in attendance was the Customs Area Controller of Apapa Command, Comptroller Ibrahim Yusuf Malanta; Controller, Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘B’ Kaduna, Comptroller A.B Hamisu psc+; Controller, Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘A’ Lagos, Deputy Comptroller Hussein Kehinde Ejibunu; Coordinator, Customs Headquarters Strike Force Zone ‘A’, Deputy Comptroller Mohammed Yusuf; and the Customs National Public Relations Officer, Deputy Comptroller Timi Bomodi, represented by the Lagos Zonal Public Relations Officer, Chief Superintendent of Customs, Uche Ejesieme; amongst other dignitaries, invited guests and participants.