China Harbour completes first phase of Nigeria’s Lekki Port two months early

The port will allow Nigeria to deal with largest modern container ships (kees torn/CC BY-SA 2.0)
China Harbour Engineering has completed work on the first phase of the Lekki seaport in Lagos, making it the deepest in Nigeria. The phase accounts for $580m out of the project’s total value of $1.5bn, according to local media.

The work was carried out on an EPC basis by the contractor’s subsidiary, LFTZ Enterprise, and completed ahead of schedule. In March 2021 it was announced that work would end in the first quarter of 2023 (see further reading).

Nigeria commissioned Lekki Port and free trade zone to boost trade in a region with strong growth potential but poor infrastructure. The trend for container ships to become ever larger and heavier has forced ports to compete with ever deeper navigation channels, longer wharves and more sophisticated craneage.

A labelled photo of Lekki port taken in July (FrankvEck/CC BY-SA 4.0)

When fully complete, the port will give West Africa the ability to deal with 1.2 million more containers a year, delivered by the latest 400m-long cargo ship.

Wu Di, vice president of CHEC and director of Lekki Port, said construction was started on 15 June 2020 and completed on 24 October. He added that the operator, a subsidiary of France’s CMA/CGM group, was free to take over in readiness for the start of operations.

Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the governor of Lagos State, reaffirmed that his administration was committed to the timely delivery of surrounding roads to ensure the port could operate without delays caused by congestion.

The port is expected to generate $361bn revenue for the Nigerian government and provide close to 200,000 jobs, Nigeria’s This Day reports.

China Development Bank is providing a $630m loan for the project.

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