Lekki Deep Sea Port, Nigeria’s first fully-automated port, began operations on Wednesday, January 25, 2023, Seatrade Maritime News reported. The port is located 40 miles east of Lagos on an area of 90 hectares, with the capacity to handle dry cargo of up to 4m tonnes per year.
According to authorities, the new port, reportedly built at the cost of $1.6bn, and completed in November 2022, is expected to be a major cargo hub in West Africa.
The China Harbour Engineering Company and Singapore’s Tolaram Group own 75% of the facility’s stake, with the remaining 25% shared between the Nigerian Ports Authority and the Lagos state government.
The facility was built by the China Harbour Engineering Company as part of China’s Belt & Road initiative and handed over to the Nigerian government, with the Chinese construction company still owning 52.5% of the port’s operating company.
According to President Buhari, who launched the terminal officially in a ribbon-cutting ceremony, the port is “a game-changer that would redefine maritime activities in Nigeria and the entire West African sub-region,” with the government planning construction of 5 more deep sea ports to boost the country’s maritime trade. Lekki Deep Sea Port is the first Nigerian port featuring ship-to-shore super-post-Panamax cranes. It is built with the capability to handle 2.7m teu. The port will also feature a liquid bulk terminal with three additional berths capable of handling vessels of up to 160,000 dwt, and a tank farm connected by pipelines through the breakwater when fully completed.