The management of Lekki Port and its terminal operator; Lekki Freeport Terminal, has revealed plans to emerge hub port for transshipment cargoes in the West and Central African region.
According to the port managers, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) have also expressed commitment to ensure Lekki deep seaport reclaims the lost transshipment cargoes to neighbouring countries.
Meanwhile, the management of Lekki seaport informed that close to $100million has been invested in acquiring cargo handling equipment that will help in recovering the transship cargo bound for the landlocked countries.
Addressing newsmen on Wednesday during a tour of the port, the Chief Commercial Officer of Lekki Freeport Terminal, Mr. Kehinde Olubi-Neye said the Lekki Freeport Terminal following robust engagements with stakeholders including Customs and freight agents, the port is confident set to recover transshipment cargoes for landlocked countries and other regional countries.
His words: “We had the opportunity of sitting with the Managing Director of NPA where he reiterated that the Lekki port should get this cargo and ensure that transshipment that was taken away from the country returns.”
“NPA regulates prices and they are interested in ensuring this cargo comes back and we are sure they will provide us with the necessary support.”
He said the port can deliver the largest vessel in the world with the equipment on ground, even as he disclosed that the Lekki port has also seen the opportunity to play a role in the uptake of cargo in ports in the eastern operational flank on the NPA.
He added that, to achieve this, the port is currently having discussions on moving containers discharged at Lekki Port by barge to the Eastern Ports of Calabar, Warri, and Onitsha River Port, among others to help increase the economy of those ports.
On cargo evacuation from the port, Olubi-Neye said Lekki Port operates an automated system that is linked to the automated gate with the vehicle booking system where truck drivers are required to book appointments in advance.
“This also supports the initiative of the Lagos State Government with regards to the comprehensive call-up system for the Lagos Free Zone, Lekki Port, Dangote Free Zone, Dangote Refinery and the Pinnacle Oil and Gas. We are in active discussions with the Lagos State Ministry of Transport and other stakeholders on the deployment of the call-up system for the Lekki area and we have confidence that the coming onboard of the call-up system for trucks will address any concerns that prospective port users would have over access to the port,” he said.
Beyond the road, he said that Lekki Port is also exploring the possibility of moving cargo by barges and has been able to execute more than five barge moves of over 900 twenty-foot equivalent units of containers (TEUs) from Lekki Port to the Ikorodu area of Lagos.
He further disclosed that the port has completed a truck park very close to the port that has capacity to accommodate 150 trucks, even as he commended the efforts of the Federal Government and Lagos State Government in constructing the roads.
On his part, the Managing Director of the NPA, Mr. Mohammed Bello-Koko who was represented by Ikechukwu Onyemakara, described Lekki Port as a truly Nigerian project and assured that the NPA would do everything within it powers to grant necessary approvals and to provide marine services to the port.
Speaking earlier, the Chief Executive Officer of Lekki Freeport Terminal, Yann Magarian, said the Lekki Port would shape the maritime economy of the country and called on Nigerians to embrace and promote the port.
He pointed out that the port is fully-automated to eliminate human contacts and well equipped as some of the equipment seen in the terminal, especially the ship-to-shore crane at the port, is mostly seen in big ports in Dubai and Singapore.
Meanwhile, the Chief Operating Officer of Lekki port Mr. Lawrence Smith, stressed that there is a need to embrace and promote the port as it has the capacity to produce 100 thousands of jobs and billions of naira.
He added that the symbiotic relationship between the port and the zone is commendable noting that he has never seen such a port in the world except in Dubai.
“Our gates are automated and is linked with our vehicle booking system where truck drivers are required to book appointments in advance. it is also available on mobile phone and provides visibility on gates transactions.”
“This also supports the initiative of the Lagos State Government with regards to the comprehensive call-up system for the Lagos Free Zone, Lekki Port, Dangote Free Zone, Dangote Refinery and the Pinnacle Oil and Gas.”
“We are in discussions with the Lagos State Ministry of Transport and other stakeholders on the deployment of the call-up system for the Lekki area and we have confident that the call-up system for trucks will address concerns of prospective port users will have over access to the port,” he said.