China’s champion international port builder, China Harbour Engineering Co, has been named as core investor in a major new deepwater port proposed for the east coast of Nigeria.
Bakassi Deep Sea Port, planned near Calabar, is billed as Nigeria’s potential second port after Apapa at Lagos, and would be the maritime gateway for the country’s landlocked northeast.
Governor of surrounding Cross River State, Ben Ayade, named China Harbour as core investor on Friday, 5 April on receiving an outline business case for the long-discussed scheme.
"We made a choice of China Harbour because they are the number one deep seaport construction company in the world today," he said, reports newspaper, Punch.Â
"They did the design and a pre-feasibility study which has been forwarded alongside a 3D footage."
The outline business case proposed a 20-metre-deep harbour for transnational shipping, making it "the deepest seaport in Africa".
In 2016 Governor Ayade said the Bakassi port scheme would be a public-private partnership (PPP), requiring an investment of between $500-$800m.
The plan, approved by Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, has been to link the Bakassi port to the country’s northeast with a 275-km superhighway, which has been criticised on environmental and economic grounds. (See Further reading.)Â
Ayade said the existing port at Calabar was hampered by the fluctuating depth of the Great Kwa River, and dredging its length to the sea would be too expensive.
Image: Riverside at Calabar (Veedeyo/CC BY-SA 4.0)