Lekki Deep Seaport, the Deep Blue project, and the electronic call-up system have emerged as the standout projects in Nigeria’s maritime industry during President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure. These multibillion-naira ventures have successfully been completed and have significantly impacted the efficiency of the country’s ports.
The primary objective of these projects was to streamline operations, reduce waiting times for vessels, and enhance the speed of cargo clearance, ultimately improving the overall throughput of Nigerian ports. The outgoing administration has made substantial investments to achieve these goals, ultimately benefiting port users and reducing costs.
The Federal Government has recently made progress on the proposed Inland Container Depot (ICD) projects, initiated by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council in collaboration with private sector investors. These projects were planned for seven different locations in Nigeria, including Isiala Ngwa, Aba; Erunmu, Ibadan; Heipang, Jos; Zawachiki, Kano; Zamfarawa, Funtua; Jauri, Maiduguri, and ICNL, Kaduna. However, only the ICDs in Kaduna and Kano have been completed thus far.
On January 30, 2023, President Buhari inaugurated the Dala Inland Dry Port in Kano, establishing it as a port for both import and export activities. Similarly, on February 2, 2023, the Federal Government declared the Funtua Inland Dry Port in Katsina State as a port of origin and final destination. The aim of these initiatives is to bring shipping operations closer to port users, particularly those in the hinterland, thereby reducing costs associated with traveling to Lagos to retrieve their consignments.
Another significant milestone in President Buhari’s tenure was the official commissioning of Nigeria’s first deep seaport, Lekki Port, on January 24, 2023. Situated in the Ibeju-Lekki area of Lagos State, the $1.5 billion project was executed through a joint venture involving Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Ltd, China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd, Tolaram, the Lagos State Government, and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
Industry experts view the completion of Lekki Port within a construction timeline of 45 months as a testament to the unwavering support of the Federal Government, demonstrated by the NPA and the Lagos State Government. Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State emphasized that Lekki Deep Seaport is the largest facility of its kind in West Africa and is poised to generate thousands of employment opportunities for Nigerians.
Additionally, Mohammed Bello-Koko, the managing director of the NPA, highlighted the port’s significant depth of 16.5 meters, enabling the accommodation of larger vessels and increased cargo capacity. This favorable condition will lead to economies of scale, reducing the cost of doing business for port users and further boosting the efficiency of the maritime industry.
The successful completion of these groundbreaking projects underscores the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to modernize Nigeria’s maritime sector, enhance operational efficiency, and stimulate economic growth in the country.