AP Moller-Maersk Sets Stage To Expand Existing Lagos Ports, Rehabilitate Quays To Accommodate Larger Vessels

By Stephen Ubanna

 For years, past Nigerian Political Leaders including former President Muhammau Buhari, had promised to expand the country’s existing ports   and rehabilitate   the decaying infrastructural facilities in the south western ports of Apapa, Tin -can Island and the south eastern ports of Onne, Warri, Calabar and the Rivers port, Port Harcourt, which was said to be over 100 years, but that was far they could go.

The establishment of the Federal ministry of Marines and Blue Economy in August 2023, by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who incidentally was a former governor of Lagos state, may have opened a new chapter for the government to take a bold initiative to address the problems of the country’s port infrastructure.

Indeed, the appointment of Oyetola Adeghoyega, a former governor of Osun state as the pioneer minister of the new ministry with a mandate to turn things around at the nation’s ports to accommodate bigger ocean –going Container and RORO vessels, may have encouraged the minister to mobilize the ministry and the maritime agency officials  to move into action.

AP Moller -Maersk to invest $600 million to rehabilitate Lagos Ports to accommodate larger vessels

He may have gladdened the heart of industry stakeholders and the shipping Companies operators when he revealed last March that the government has proposed the North American country of the United States, US,  $1 billion dollar, investment  for expansion of existing Nigerian ports and rehabilitation of quays to accommodate larger ocean-going vessels .

The minister who could not hide his feelings had said that ‘’the country has not fully   reaped the benefits of the 1996 Port Concessions due to inadequate port infrastructure upgrades. The minister was emphatic that some of the nation’s ports, particular, that of Apapa, Tincan and Rivers port, PortHarcourt which are nearing the end of their lifespan, had hindered port efficient operations.

  It is not surprising why he had said that it has become expedient to ensure that any step that needed to be taken to rehabilitate the country’s decaying port infrastructural facilities must be fitted within the context of the government long- term investment plan.

He noted that ‘’the dream to achieve a modernized port which is paramount and sacrosanct to the Tinubu’s Administration’ has been pursued with vigour to achieve its full realization, stressing that ‘’the Concession agreement that will be entered into with any of the investors or port operator must align with this vision’’. 

Given the huge amount that will needed to expand and up grade the infrastructural facilities at the nation’s seaports,  this time around, the former Osun state governor had said that the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, under the close watch of  Mohammed Bello-Koko,  ‘’will determine  the approximate  value of investment  to be made  for the ports   by the investor  and the corresponding tenor  to be granted  to the investor/operator’’.

It was gathered that the Authority had entered into talks with the Danish shipping and logistics Company, AP Moller- Maersk, and other Concessionaires to know which one of them is ready to help   in expanding    the country’s port infrastructural facilities to the level where it can accommodate more Container shipping services.

Informed sources at NPA, had told The Value News that only AP Moller-Maersk Line, Concessionaire of old Apapa Container terminal which many believe has the resources that was said to have shown its interest to take up the up the multi-million dollar expansion of the Lagos existing ports and quay project without obstructing port operations.

Mohammed Bello –Koko, Maaging Director NPA, was said to have related the good news to the Adegboyea, the minister of Marine and Blue Economy, who in turn was said to have passed on the information to the President who was awaiting for an opportunity to hear from the company.  

 Indeed, officials of  the Danish Company , may have taken advantage  of the World Economic  Forum Special  Meeting on  Global Collaboration , Growth  and Energy  for Development  in Riyadh, Capital of  the oil rich Saudi Arabia, on Sunday, April 28, 2024, to hold talks with the Nigerian President who had led the country’s delegation comprising of ministers   business leaders and Chief Executive Officers, CEOs of some government agencies.

There is no gain saying the fact that the Riyadh, world economic forum which was said to have been attended by over 1,000 Leaders from government, business and academia from more than 90 countries had provided opportunity for AP Moller-Maersk shipping    to official declare its interest on the multi-million dollar Lagos ports expansion and rehabilitation of infrastructural facilities project for a start.  

Tinubu holds talks with some business leaders during the World Forum Economic Special meeting in Riyadh , saudi Arabia

 President Tinubu, who had   led the Nigerian delegation, which  included  Wale Edun, minister of Finance and Coordinating  minister of the  economy, Adegboyega, the minister of marine and blue economy , among others, was said to have spoken on the sidelines of the  Riyadh  World Economic  Forum, with Robert  Uggla, the Chairman , AP Moller-Maersk, who was said to have broken his silence on the Lagos ports  expansion and rehabilitation of quay project, worth millions of US, dollars.

Uggla, the AP Moller-Maersk may have gladdened the heart of the Nigerian President who was said to be beaming with smiles after their discussions that that the Danish shipping firm have seen’’ a significant opportunity in Nigeria, to carter for larger ships’’.

The Danish Shipping company Chairman   had alluded to the fact that ‘’historically, most of the West African Coasts are already being served by its smaller ships’’.  Given that the company   now have an opportunity to deploy larger Container vessels to Nigeria, the most populous country in the African Continent may have informed why the company agreed to expand the Lagos port infrastructure, particular.

The  Danish company may have singled out  the Lagos ports of Apapa  and Tincan to be e expanded  and  its quay rehabilitated  because  it  needed a bigger  hub for its logistics services, noting that  the growth potential  is hard to quantify.

The Danish firm Chairman, was said to have disclosed that the company will invest US, 600 dollars in the expansion of the existing Lagos ports and infrastructural facilities in order to make the ports accommodating for bigger Container ships. The Danish company decision to invest $600 million on the Lagos ports appears to have given a ray of hope to the Nigerian government that the balance 400million, needed to complete the expansion and rehabilitation of the basic infrastructural facilities at the south eastern ports will be achieved as NPA intensify efforts to get more investors.

Recall that an elated President Tinubu, had told Uggla, the AP Moller-Maersk Chairman, that the Nigerian government appreciates its business and contribution to the nation’s economic growth.  The Nigerian President who had said that the country does not ‘’take its business partners for granted’’ had reiterated that   ‘’a bet on Nigeria is a winning bet that rewards beyond what is obtainable elsewhere’’.

The former Lagos state may have given the AP Moller –Maersk Chairman a cause to be cheery when he stated that  ‘’more  investment opportunities  are available in Nigeria as the present government  has worked on various reforms  on the  Nigerian economy ‘’to encourage  investments’’.  

 He may have sent a message toot her foreign investors that the government had carried out the various economic reforms since May 29, 2023,   to encourage   ‘’more opportunities for the country’s revenue expansion and minimize trans-shipments from larger ships to smaller ships in the mid ocean. Vintage Tinubu.    

1 thought on “AP Moller-Maersk Sets Stage To Expand Existing Lagos Ports, Rehabilitate Quays To Accommodate Larger Vessels

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