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Nigeria opens first deep seaport

Photo: Lekki Port NIGERIA-LEKKI PORT[48].jpg
Nigeria’s first deep seaport, Lekki Deep Sea Port, started operations and is expected to become a major cargo hub for West Africa.

The country’s first fully automated port and it is largest, is 75% owned by the China Harbour Engineering Company and Singapore’s Tolaram Group, with the balance shared between the Lagos state government and the Nigerian Ports Authority.

Authorities have said the new port, built at a reported $1.6bn, is one of the largest in West Africa. President Muhammadu Buhari did the honours officially cutting the ribbon to mark the opening of the port which was completed in November 2022.

The President called the port “a game-changer that would redefine maritime activities in Nigeria and the entire West African sub-region.”

In anticipation of the opening ceremonies, CMA CGM shifted its containership the 5,570 teu CMA CGM Mozart into the port arriving on 22 January. The 73,235 dwt vessel arrived from Lagos and was berthed as a backdrop for today’s ceremonies. CMA CGM will begin using the new Lekki Deep Sea Port as one of its first regular tenants. 

Located approximately 40 miles to the east of Lagos the port covers over 90 hectares. The project was built by the China Harbour Engineering Company as part of China’s Belt and Road strategy. The Chinese company officially handed the port over to Nigeria after completing construction but retains 52.5% ownership in the port’s operating company.

The government is planning for the construction of a total of six new deep seaports. 

It is the first Nigerian port with ship-to-shore super-post-Panamax cranes. The container port has the capacity to handle an annual throughput of 2.7m teu. When fully completed the port will also have a liquid bulk terminal with three additional berths with a capacity to handle vessels up to 160,000 dwt. There will also be a tank farm connected by pipelines running to the breakwater. The dry cargo terminal will have the capacity to handle up to 4m tonnes of dry bulk per year.