”Lekki Deep Port  Will Operate On Principle Of Hub And Spoke’’- Bello -Koko

By Stephen Ubanna

 Those who think that the Lekki deep port will be a threat to the Lagos ports of Apapa, Tincan Island, Port Multiservice Terminal Limited, PTML and kIirikirikiri Lighter  Terminal, phases I and II, would be disappointed. That much was said by Mohammed Bello- Koko, Managing Director, the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, at the recent League of maritime Editors retreat in Lagos.

Hear him: There seems  to be the  morbid fear  by stakeholders  that  the emergence of  of Lekki -Deep sea ports may signal  the death  or possibly  turn the existing ports in Lagos  to tourist site, stressing that ‘‘this is  simply a falacy’’  

Speaking on the Lekki deep seaport: Identifying the gains, challenges   and potential threat to Lagos ports, the NPA, Chief Executive officer, CEO, disclosed that it will serve as a ‘‘hub to the Lagos ports which will eventually be hosting feeder vessels for Containers coming to Lagos Areas and other ports in the West African sub-region.  This is because’ ‘the level of efficiency would be very high as the hosting of the post –panamax vessel’’.  He disclosed that the Liners would be encouraged’‘to use the Lekki deep sea port to minimize costs in order to maximize profits’’

 According to him the Deep –sea port will operate by principle of hub and spoke’’. He had said that’ ‘‘the cost per Container box would be very low compared with the existing ports in Lagos and thereby leveraging on the economies of scale’’. 

The NPA boss may have taken advantage of the League of Maritime Editors, popular, LOME, retreat  to open up on the major problems of the port for now such as weak infrastructure, constraints of hinterland connectivity, constraints of yard and storage capacity in the Lagos operational area, tagged as city challenges, absence of synergy between port stakeholders   owning to absence of port Community system, Security challenge in the south eastern operational Area and underutilization of the south eastern ports as well as over-utilization of the Lagos ports.

Ali: CG: Customs

   Note that the draft depth of the Lekki deep seaport is put about 16.5 meters. Modupe Aremu, an Assistant Comptroller General of Customs, ACG, and Coordinator, Lagos  Zone A Office, who had represented  Hameed Ali , a retired Army Colonel and Comptroller General, Nigeria Customs Service, NCS,  at the LOME retreat  had said that the Completion of  the project  is expected ‘‘to be the biggest seaport in Nigeria and a major step  towards  Africa’s  largest economy , breaking through a bottleneck  in the international  trade and achieving  accelerated  economic growth’’.  

The ACG had said that the seaport has the capacity to handle 1.2 million containers annually, thus increasing the country’s container handling capacity by 80%. She further disclosed that the Lekki deep seaport has the capacity ‘’to anchor and accommodate the biggest ships in the world which the make port unique’’.

According to her, ‘’the port will constantly   serve as a gateway to Nigeria and play a critical role for the country’s commodities to reach the international market’’. She had corroborated what the Npa helmsman, when she disclosed that ‘‘the port will position Lagos, the nation’s commercial nerve center, as a new maritime logistics hub in the West Africa while also helping Nigeria to attain full economic leadership in the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement’’.

She noted that it was a good thing for the investors to have conceived of the establishment of the Lekki deep sea port project, citing ‘‘the congestion and the traffic situation at the Apapa port’’. The ACG is optimistic that the port will go a long way to reducing the traffic and congestions which is antithetical to trade facilitation.

ACG Aremu who could not hide her feelings was said to have made it clear to those that cares to listen that the service will ‘‘partner with stakeholders of the Deep seaport ‘‘to ensure that the facility serves its purpose of establishment’’. 

She had said that the Customs Authorities have deployed officers and men to the port in readiness for the immediate creation of a Customs Command with all the paraphernalia ‘‘to ensure pioneering operations that are seamless’.

  It is estimated that the Deep-sea port will generate about $21 billion revenue to the Lagos state government and other Federal government agencies Accounts through taxes, duties and royalties. It is also expected to develop direct and induced revenue of about$58 billion and contribute an aggregate of N$61 billion to the Nigerian economy yearly.

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