Lekki deep seaport received a major boost on Friday as it received the first-ever cargo vessel, Zhen Hua 28, to berth at the port.
The ship brought three Ship-to-Shore cranes and 10 Rubber-Tyred Gantry (RTG) cranes.
Speaking on the development, Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko, said the delivery of the three STS and 10 RTG cranes was critical to the commencement of operations of the deep seaport.
He said the port, when fully operational, will be the first fully automated port in Nigeria.
“It demonstrates our readiness to take trade facilitation a notch higher,” Bello-Koko said adding that the commitment of the NPA toward providing every support necessary to place Nigeria on the global list of countries with deep seaports was unflinching.
“This is why matters related to the operationalisation of Lekki Deep Seaport before the end of this year have been placed on top priority,” he said.
The NPA boss thanked President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Ministry of Transportation for the tremendous backing the authority had enjoyed leading to the arrival of the vessel.
“For us at the NPA, the coming on stream of Lekki Deep Sea Port symbolises 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 operationalisation of not just the forthcoming Badagry, Ibom and Bonny Deep Seaports, but also of the reconstruction of the aged Tin-Can Port, where work will commence immediately the transport ministry and FEC approve.
“As most of us are aware, the NPA is working assiduously under the technical guidance of the International Maritime Organization to deploy the Port Community System which will enable us respond squarely to the dictates of global trade facilitation and optimise 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 said.
Bello-Koko congratulated all stakeholders on the milestone and prayed for greater strides as the nation pushes toward trade facilitation.