China-built West Africa’s Ksh.124 bn deepest sea port opens in Nigeria

Lagos, Nigeria’s economic hub and West African trade hub’s shipping terminals are embracing a game-changer deep sea port of transforming the country’s trade links.

On January 23, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated iconic Lekki deep seaport, Nigeria’s biggest and West Africa’s deepest sea port in the southwestern state of Lagos for operation.

At a banquet held by the Lagos state government, the President said that he has placed all matters related to the operationalization of Lekki deep seaport on top priority and the completion of the project was driven by his vision to bequeath a legacy of poverty elimination through the provision of job-creating infrastructure.

“Lekki Port remains a game-changer that would redefine maritime activities in Nigeria and the entire West African sub-region.” Du Ruogang, the Managing Director of Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Limited (LPLEL) highlighted the importance of the newly inaugurated port in a news statement issued on January 23, 2023.

At the port handover ceremony last November,  the Governor of Lagos State Babajide Sanwo-Olu shared the same vision that the new port will position Lagos as a new maritime logistics hub not only in West Africa, but in the whole Central and West African region.

With the capacity of handling 1.2 million standard containers annually, the Lekki port will greatly ease congestion at Nigeria’s ports and increase the country’s container handling capacity by up to 80 percent, according to China Harbor Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC), the port’s builder. In addition, the Lekki port itself is embedded into the Lekki Free Trade Zone which offers tax and other incentives, as well as reliable and modern infrastructure to lower the cost of doing business and generate more benefits.

“It is estimated that the overall economic benefits will reach more than 360 billion dollars (within the 45-year licensed operation period), becoming a new engine of economic development that will empower the whole country,” said Chinese ambassador to Nigeria Cui Jianchun.

With an investment of over Ksh.124 billion (US$.1 billion), the Lekki deep seaport is a commercial project of cooperation between China, France and Nigeria. More importantly, the port is of great significance for the Belt and Road Initiative cooperation in Africa.

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