Nigeria expects to become an African transshipment hub with a new deep-water port set to open in the commercial capital of Lagos before the end of this year, its managing director has said.
Du Ruogang, managing director of Lekki Deep Sea Port – 75% owned by China Harbor Engineering Company and Tolaram Group with the balance between the Lagos State Government and the Nigerian Ports Authority, said the port had reached 89% completion.
The multibillion-dollar deep-water port, in development for more than a decade and located on the outskirts of Lagos, is part of new infrastructure that Nigeria hopes can use to boost trade.
The new port, with a capacity of 18,000 twenty-foot equivalent units, has more than four times the capacity that can be handled by existing ports in the country.
“With this port, Nigeria will become a transshipment hub,” Information Minister Lai Mohammed said during a site visit.
Mohammed said Nigeria wanted to use the port investment to regain shipping business lost to ports in Togo, Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana, adding that the new facility would give the country an edge in African trade.
African countries have launched a continental free trade area, aiming to bring together 1.3 billion people in a $3.4 trillion economic bloc that supporters say will boost intra-African trade, living standards and encourage development.
Ruogang said a second phase of port development will begin within the next seven years.
Source: Reuters (Writing by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Sandra Maler)