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