As the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) received the first-ever vessel Zhen Hua 28 to berth at the $1.5bn Lekki Deep Seaport, the Managing Director of the Authority, Mohammed Bello-Koko assured that the port would be the first to be fully automated in Nigeria when fully operational.
Bello-Koko, who was speaking while receiving the vessel, which brought three Ship To Shore (STS) cranes and 10 Rubber Tyred Gantry (RTG) cranes, disclosed the successful delivery of the three STS and the 10 RTG cranes was critical to the commencement of operations of the deep seaport.
According to him, the delivery of the equipment also demonstrates Nigeria’s readiness to take trade facilitation a notch higher, adding that the commitment of the NPA in providing every support necessary to place Nigeria on the global list of countries with Deep Seaports is unflinching.
“This is why matters related to the operationalization of Lekki Deep Seaport before the end of this year have been placed on top priority. For us at the NPA, the coming on stream of Lekki Deep Sea Port symbolizes a lot of positives. Apart from being Nigeria’s first Deep Seaport, Lekki Port will also be the first fully automated port at take-off.
“This provides an insight into the path we are already toeing as a management team to govern the operationalization of not just the forthcoming Badagry, Ibom and Bonny Deep Seaports, but also of the reconstruction of the aged Tin-Can Port, where work is set to commence once we secure the necessary approvals from the Federal Ministry of Transportation and FEC respectively,” he added.
He reiterated that automation remains the most veritable tool for assuring Port efficiency, adding that the NPA is working assiduously under the technical guidance of the International Maritime Organization to deploy the Port Community System (PCS), which will enable Nigeria to respond squarely to the dictates of global trade facilitation and optimize the opportunities of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement to which Nigeria is a signatory.
“Our strategic intent of becoming the maritime logistics hub for sustainable ports services in Africa rests heavily on how well we are able to deepen our efficiencies through a construction of deep seaports in order to leverage the concomitant benefits of economies of scale,” he added.
Earlier, the Chairman of Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Limited, Mr. Abiodun Dabiri, said the arrival of the vessel is historic as it would begin to deliver Nigeria as a regional hub for maritime business.
“Now the vessel we have just received now is carrying some major cranes and those cranes will enhance the transformation business of the deep-sea port.”