Work starts on Lekki Port, showpiece of Nigeria’s economic development

China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) has begun work on Lekki Port, a $1.5bn project to build a deepwater harbour to relieve pressure on Nigeria’s main port of Lagos.

CHEC has started on the breakwater for the port, which is located on the southeastern outskirts of Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital.

Once complete, the 16.5m-deep harbour and modern cranage will make Lekki one of the leading ports in sub-Saharan Africa and a regional trans-shipment hub, said developer Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise (LPLE).

It will be able to handle 2.7 million containers a year, 1.2 million more than Lagos, and will be surrounded by the Lagos Free Trade Zone (LFTZ), which the Nigerian government hopes will attract foreign investment in factories to boost the country’s manufacturing sector.

"We are working tirelessly in conjunction with CHEC to deliver a port which will be a state-of-the-art, model deep sea port, not only in Nigeria but in sub-Saharan Africa," Steven Heukelom, LPLE’s general manager for the project, told local media.

CHEC is responsible for design of the port, construction of the marine and landside infrastructure, and the dredging of the access channel and port basin.

US multidisciplinary consultant Louis Berger is the project manager, and is also responsible for contract management, design review and supervision of the construction.

CHEC is the marine construction arm of the state-owned giant, China Construction and Communication Company (CCCC). The scheme’s investors include Singapore’s Tolaram Group, the Nigerian Port Authority and the Lagos State Government.

Lekki is part of a general effort among West Africa’s coastal states to build modern ports and capture the trade and industry that flows from them. Other schemes planned or under way in the region include Senegal’s Port de Futur, Côte d’Ivoire’s Abidjan, Ghana’s Tema, Cameroon’s Kribi and Nigeria’s Badagry. Togo’s Lomé was complete in 2016.

Image: Official from the Nigerian Port Authority examine a scale model of the harbour (Lekki Port)

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