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March 3, 2024

Lekki Port to restore Nigeria’s transshipment hub status

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By Chiazo Ogbolu

Mr Kehinde Olubi-Neye, the Chief Commercial Officer of Lekki Freeport Terminal, says the port will facilitate the return of cargo transshipment hub status back to Nigeria.

Olubi-Neye said this at a media conference held at the port’s complex in Ibeju Lekki, on Wednesday in Lagos.

He said that the port had been mandated by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to ensure return of transshipment of cargoes which was lost years back.

Transhipment refers to the transportation of cargo and containers moved from one vessel to another while in transit to the final destination.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the transshipment hub status was lost to other West African countries due to inefficiency in the system and low draught level of the Nigerian ports.

He said that the port had the equipment and draft to achieve the feat.

“We had the opportunity of sitting with the Managing Director of NPA where he reiterated that the Lekki port should get this cargo 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,” Olubi-Neye said.

He added that the company was conducting trucks and drivers registration to ensure seamless movement around the port vicinity.

“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.

Olubi-Neye also commended the Federal Government and the Lagos State Government for road construction around the ports.

He, however, disclosed that the company would explore the possibility of moving cargo by barges.

“We have been to execute more than five barges moves of over 900TEUs from Lekki Port to the Ikorodu area of Lagos.

“There are opportunities for Lekki Port to play a role in the uptake of cargo in the Eastern Ports and we are currently having a lot of discussions around Calabar Port, Warri Port and Onitsha River Port among others.

“When such containers are discharged at Lekki Port, it will be moved by barge to the Eastern ports to help increase the economy of those ports,” he said.

He noted that the barge services at the port was designed to carry containers from Lekki port through the ocean, to the lagoon and deliver to the last mile.

Speaking on incentives for cargo owners, Olubi-Neye described the company’s tarrif as very competitive when compared with other ports in the country.

Inefficiency in the system and low draught level of the Nigerian ports are the main reason why the country lost the transhipment hub status to other West African countries.
“We know the investments we have put here and we definitely need to assure our stakeholders and investors on return of investment.

“We are not here to compete, we are here to connect global maritime trade to Nigeria and that is why we have the deepest draft here, which does not exist in other port in Lagos and even in some the West Africa countries,” he said.

Earlier, Mr Yann Magarian, the Chief Executive Officer, Lekki Freeport Terminal, said that the port would shape the maritime economy and called for it to be embraced and promoted.

According to him, the port is fully equipped as some of the equipment seen especially the ship-to-shore crane at the port is mostly seen in big ports.

“This port can do a lot for the country in terms of revenue and job creation,” he said. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Auwalu Birnin Kudu/Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma

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