The landlocked countries of Chad, Mali, and Niger Republic have expressed interest in routing their cargoes through Nigeria as the Lekki Deep Seaport begins operations on Friday, September 16, 2022.
The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko, stated during a press conference that the start of port operations would enable Nigeria to reclaim 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 will be ready by the 15th of September, but this is the first time in a long time that a new port will be set up in Nigeria.”
“A port with a different system, a different IT deployment that we don’t currently have in Nigeria will be at Lekki.” Currently, no port 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.
“They will begin dry runs and testing on September 16th.” They are recruiting and have probably finished recruiting Nigerians who 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 takes a long time, so from our interactions with them, as far as we are concerned, Lekki deep seaport is ready.
The NPA, pilot cutters, and mooring boats, among other things, will provide marine services. Nigeria Customs will be present. Few weeks ago, the President approved and designated Lekki deep seaport as a port of destination. It has a full port complement, and vessels can come from outside the country, berth, and go,” he explained.
Koko also stated that the Authority, in collaboration with the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), is developing affordable tariffs for landlocked transit cargoes that will be imported into Nigeria once the Lekki Deep Seaport is operational.
According to him, landlocked countries such as Mali, Chad, and Niger Republic have expressed interest in shipping their goods through the new ports.
“Previously, the Nigerian Republic imported its cargoes through Nigerian ports.” Mali is also interested, and there are entities from neighboring countries interested in bringing in their cargoes, but our goal is to reach out as far as possible.
“We are encouraging 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 agreements, and where we need the assistance of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Transportation, we will let them know.”