Billion-Dollar Chinese-Owned Seaport Opens in Lagos

Lekki Deep Sea Port. Image: FrankvEck.

In late January, Nigeria opened the new Lekki Deep Sea Port, a billion-dollar Chinese-built port in Lagos, which is expected to ease container traffic congestion and become an African hub for handling cargoes in transit to destinations around the world.

The port is 75% owned by the China Harbour Engineering Co. and consumer goods company Tolaram Group. The remaining 25% is shared between the Lagos state government and the Nigerian Ports Authority.

While addressing the media during the official commissioning of Lekki Port by Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari on Jan. 23, Du Ruogang, the managing director of port promoter Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Limited (LPLEL), said that the port would facilitate trade volume growth for Nigeria and increase the country’s gross domestic product as part of the port’s macro-economic benefits to the economy.

He noted that Lekki Port remains a game-changer that would redefine maritime activities in Nigeria and the entire West African sub-region. He also highlighted other benefits, including improvement of external trade competitiveness through improved port efficiency, cost-effective port operations and services.

Also mentioned were improved turnaround time for cargo handling and clearance, a reduction in delays in the supply of raw materials and equipment, as well as reduced costs of importations and charges such as demurrage, among others.

“With Lekki Port, Nigeria will witness a growth in maritime traffic and global trade and strengthen connectivity and capability to provide efficient and reliable services,” he said. “Lekki Port will be a critical engine that will drive the Nigerian economy upon the commencement of operations.”

“I am equally confident that it would help to reinforce Nigeria’s status as a regional maritime hub and enable many related industries to flourish,” he added.

Through its new container terminal at Lekki Port, the CMA CGM Group said that it would further develop its presence in Nigeria, which has the continent’s largest economy and population and the most critical consumer market in West Africa. It will consolidate its global African shipping and logistics network, the company said.

Denrick Moos, the CEO of Lekki Freeport Terminal, which is operated by CMA CGM Group subsidiary CMA Terminals, said that in addition to its state-of-the-art infrastructures, Lekki Port would become a new-generation container terminal, a game-changing infrastructure in Nigeria and West Africa.

The port is Nigeria’s first deep sea port and is equipped with 13 quay cranes for a capacity of 2.5 million TEUs on a 1.2-kilometre (0.75-mile) quay with a depth of 16 meters (52.5 feet); it will operate vessels with a capacity of up to 15,000 TEUs, according to the port’s operators.