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REVEALED! Why Nigeria may not have new ports soon … As Lekki Port promoters shift take-off again

Nigeria is not anywhere
near to getting new seaports anytime soon, developments have shown.
Working with the
Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the host states and private investors, the
Federal Government, through the public private partnership (PPP) initiative, is
working at establishing additional seaports in various locations to ease the
pressure on the existing ports.

The existing ports
include: the Lagos Port Complex (LPC) and the Tin-Can Island Port Complex
(TCIPC), both in Apapa, Lagos State, South West Nigeria; the Delta Port Complex
(DPC), Warri, Delta State, South South Nigeria; the Rivers Port Complex (RPC),
Port-Harcourt, and the Onne Port Complex (OPC), Onne, both in Rivers State,
South South Nigeria; and the Calabar Port Complex (CPC), Calabar, Cross River
State, South South Nigeria.
The proposed greenfield
developments include: the Lekki Deep Seaport, Lekki, and Badagry Deep Seaport,
Badagry, Lagos State; Olokola Deep Seaport on the border of Ogun and Ondo
states, South West Nigeria; Ogidigbe Port, Delta State; Agge Deep Seaport,
Bayelsa State, South South Nigeria; and Ibaka Deep Seaport, Akwa Ibom State,
South South Nigeria.
These projects, investigations
show, have, however, largely remained mere proposals on drawing boards.
Even the proposed Lekki
Deep Seaport, which appeared to have shown the greatest promise of coming on
stream soon enough may not have been spared the malaise of stagnation ailing
the other new ports projects.  
It was learnt that the
promoters of the Lekki Deep Seaport project may have shifted its take-off date
for the fifth time.
   
Head of the group media
consulting firm, BD Consult, Abiodun Coker, who said that the project was
still on course, added that the operational date has now been shifted 2018.
The promoters of the
Lekki Deep Seaport project had earlier announced 2012 as its take-off date,
which was in turns shifted to 2013 and 2015.
Earlier this year, 2016
was announced as a new take-off date.
Last week, the firm
announced 2018 as the latest take-off date.
Meanwhile, a maritime
economist and Executive Director of ABN Consults, Mr. Harrison Agada, explained
why it was difficult for banks to fund the construction of the Lekki Deep
Seaport project.
Agada spoke against the
backdrop of recent newspaper reports that the successful execution of the
project is allegedly being threatened by the reluctance of investors and banks
to fund it.
Agada said: “It
will require not less than $1.5 billion to actualise the Lekki Port Project,
and I cannot see the cargo volume to justify any such investment in the
medium-term. And who is willing to invest and not get return in 10 to 15
years?” 
He went on:
“Investors doubt the ability of the promoters of the port to draw cargo
traffic to the facility, especially because of evacuation bottlenecks. 
“Because the Lekki
axis is largely a residential area, vehicular traffic in and out is very heavy
without the added burden of trucks plying that route. What will happen when
trucks join the fray on the road is better imagined. 
“Due to this
constraint and in the absence of a rail system, evacuation of containers from
the Lekki Port to the Western part of the country will be very difficult if not
impossible. 
“You can’t move
goods up north either except a new bridge the size of the Third Mainland Bridge
is constructed around the lagoon. 
“Trucks evacuating
goods from the port however can head for the Eastern part of the country but
then, they will have to travel almost 100 kilometres to link up the Benin-Ore
road. 
“Movement of goods out of the port
through barges is not an option either because Lekki is backed by a very broad
and shallow lagoon making barging difficult.”
Harping on the several
shifts in the port’s commencement date by its promoters, Agada added: “All
of these points to uncertainty around the port, and no investor will put their
money under such circumstances.”
It would be recalled that the Lekki Deep Seaport, also
known as the Port at Lekki, is touted to be Nigeria’s largest seaport on
completion. 
At full operational
capacity, the Port at Lekki is expected to be able to handle about six million
20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of containers, as well as significant volumes
of liquid and dry bulk cargoes.    
 Source: Maritime Matters

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