The Lekki Deep Seaport project has received a major boost with the signing of a $629m financing facility with China Development Bank.
Four agreements, including the financing facility, were signed on Wednesday with the CDB to accelerate the completion of the project.
The loan, according to a statement from Lagos State Government, was secured from the Chinese bank after China Harbour Engineering Company, which owns majority shares in the project, signed a 45-year concessionary agreement with Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Limited to complete the Phase 1 of the project.
After completion, the deep seaport would have two container berths of 680-metre long and 16.5-metre water depth as well as the capacity to be berthed by fifth generation container ships.
The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, described the development as another milestone for the state in infrastructural development and commerce, adding that the signing of the agreements ended a period of uncertainty that had followed the delivery of the project.
He said the completion of the project would invigorate the Lagos economy.
He said, “This is a new beginning for us in Lagos. We have achieved another milestone in our efforts to transform the state and accomplish the 21st century economic ambition. As a government, we are fully in support of the project.
“We will do all we can to ensure the terms of the agreements signed today are delivered within 30 months as agreed and we expect the outcome would catalyse Lagos’ fifth largest economy and take it up more in the index of largest economies in years to come.”
Sanwo-Olu said more trade agreements would be signed with foreign investors in the coming weeks, adding that his administration would continue to explore investments and partnerships that would accelerate growth and benefit residents of the state.
The Chairman, Lekki Port Board of Director, Mr Biodun Dabiri, described the development of the seaport as strategic for the growth of Lekki Free Trade Zone.
He said it would make “immense impact” on the nation’s economy by creating more than 200,000 jobs and generating about $350bn in revenue for the state over the period of the concession.
The CHEC Chairman, Mr Lin Yichong, said the phase 1 of the project would be built with annual handling capacity of 1.2 million TEU, adding that the capacity would be increased to 2.5 million TEU upon the completion of the second phase.
He said, “After the completion of the Lekki port, it would become the first deep seaport in Nigeria and the container transportation hub in Africa. It would also release big pressure off the Apapa and Tin Can Island ports.”