The full commencement of operations at the Lekki Deep Sea Port may be another fantasy tale told by the government to the people.
The Lekki Deep Sea Port said to have been up to 96% ready to begin port activities and operations is yet to start barely three months to the end of 2022. Key stakeholders, like Mohammed Bello-Koko, Managing Director Nigerian Ports Authority(NPA) and the promoters of the project had pledged that by September, partial port activities would commence and full operations at the end of the year; but the situation of the port probes this promise .
As of now, the proposed rail from the port, which would be connected to Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge is still amiss,
Recall that in a previous interview by the MD, NPA, he confirmed that all marine equipment needed are ready and by the 15th of September the port would be ready to swing into operations. He also mentioned that from 16th September the ship to shore cranes, digital systems relating to clearance systems, other IT solutions and human Labour at the Lekki Deep Seaport would be verified to measure their capabilities .
However , by the time of this publication, the Nigerian populace cannot say that aside from the staple ports across the federation, the innovative smart port has been launched to work . The readiness of the Lekki Deep Port is still shrouded. To question the commencement of the Lekki Deep Seaport further , stakeholders, importers, exporters are yet to know the tariff on transit cargoes . This information was also promised when Bello-Koko highlighted that NPA, Nigerian Shippers Council and Customs are interfacing to determine the tariffs for transshipment cargoes. The lack of this vital information till this moment depicts more obscurity to the commencement of operations at the Lekki Deep Seaport.
So far , only Cameroonian Shippers have been recorded to import cargoes via this port. This could be estimated to be at 0.1% based on the expectations of the port with the deadline slated by the NPA Boss.
Notwithstanding these unexplained delays in target of operations, the Lekki Deep Seaport Managed by Mr Du Ruogang, no doubt, is a modern and multipurpose in Nigeria and within the shores of West Africa. Its catchment area is also a plus because it is located at Lagos Free Trade Zone . Without guessing , the port would add an increase to Nigeria’s economy in both import and export trading though exportation is best ideal to redeem Nigeria’s fallen economy and ‘naked’ currency.
Aside from these, the Lekki Deep Seaport would also attract coastal and landlocked neighboring countries to utilize the port in sailing their goods to different destinations. We implore all stakeholders involved to imbibe the tenacity implored in kicking the building of the port when it was signed by its financial partners in 2019. It’s been three years now and we can see evident work though it’s far-fetched from the dream .
By the Nigerian factors ,the three years is a short span to erect such a lofty citadel but Nigeria needs completed actions in the nearest time possible to gain the benefits of the ports. This is crucial especially in an era where the port can accrue to Nigeria the gongs of the International Maritime Organisation. IMO is steadily clamouring for innovations, modern technologies , greener shipping, renewable energy sources and other smart ways in shipping to her member nations and Nigeria is inclusive.