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Major milestone achieved

A large shipping vessel with gantry cranes and materials handling equipment is the first vessel to dock at the new Lekki port in Nigeria

IM'PORT'ANT PROGRESS The construction and progress of the new Lekki Port is gaining traction and will soon be fully operational

19th August 2022

     

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In what has been described as a major milestone and a significant boost ahead of the start of port operations, Lekki deep sea port, on July 1, 2022, took delivery of three Super Post Panamax ship to shore (STS) cranes and 10 rubber tyred gantries (RTGs) and witnessed the arrival of the first vessel to berth at the port.

The cranes and the RTG equipment will be used in the container terminal, which will be operated by Lekki Freeport Terminal, a subsidiary of French container transportation and shipping company CMA CGM Group.

The vessel ZHEN HUA 28, which conveyed the STS cranes and RTGs to Nigeria, left Shanghai, China, on May 17, and arrived at Lekki deep sea port at about midday Nigerian time on July 1.

Speaking after the vessel berthed, Lekki port chairperson Biodun Dabiri expressed his great joy at the arrival of the STS cranes and RTG equipment at the port.

He states that the Zhen Hua 28 vessel could only berth in Lekki port and nowhere else in the country owing to the depth of the draught at Lekki port.

He recalls how the port project was conceived during President Olusegun Obasanjo’s presidency, between 1999 and 2007, and since then had been take forward by successive Lagos State Governors Asiwaju BolaTinubu, Babatunde Fashola SAN, Akinwunmi Ambode, and now Babajide Sanwoolu,

“Each subsequent governor has contributed immensely to the development of the port.”

He also acknowledged the contributions of private enterprise entity Tolaram and marine infrastructure specialist company China Harbour Engineering Company, the promoters of the project.

Lekki port MD Du Ruogang explains that the cranes are highly sophisticated port equipment that will be used for the first time in Nigeria at Lekki port, thereby putting Nigeria at the forefront of container operations in West Africa and on the global maritime map.

“This is the first batch of our port machinery; in August, we will mobilise the second batch of two STS and five RTGs, so by the time port operations formally start there would be five STS and 15 RTGs in place,” Ruogang says.

Ruogang lauds the key stakeholders, including the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA), Lagos State government, China Habour Engineering Company, and Tolaram, for their unflinching commitment to making Lekki port a reality.

Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) MD Mohammed Bello-Koko describes the delivery of the cranes as quite historic as it signifies the readiness of the promoters of the port to take trade facilitation a notch higher while also optimising the opportunities of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement to which Nigeria is a signatory.

He disclosed that Lekki port, being the first fully automated port, would contribute a great deal to enhancing port efficiency.

He adds that the NPA as a regulator is ready to work assiduously, under the technical guidance of the International Maritime Organisation, in the deployment of the Port Community System to enable it to respond squarely to the dictates of global trade facilitation.

China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) GM Xie Xianju, the engineering, procurement and construction contractor for the port, also expressed his delight at the day’s events noting that Lekki port is the first project in Africa for CHEC which integrates investment, construction and operations.

He adds that the project is of utmost priority to CHEC and China, noting that the arrival of the port equipment is a huge morale booster and will spur workers to continue to work hard to complete the project’s construction by the completion date.

Edited by Zandile Mavuso
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Features

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