Photo credit: Lekki Port
The 23 January 2023 will go down in history as the day Nigeria took a giant step towards easing trade. President Muhammadu Buhari witnessed the offloading of cargo from the container ship CMA CGM as he opened the US$1.5bn Lekki Deep Sea Port - an initiative of Singapore-based Tolaram. Located in Itoke village, on the on the outskirts of Lagos, the port is expected to deliver a shot in the arm for Nigeria's position as a trade hub and reduce congestion at the existing city ports.
At a depth of 16 metres, the Lekki port is Nigeria's deepest and can accommodate vessels four times larger than those that can currently dock at the Tin Can and Apapa Ports in Lagos. It is equipped with 13 quay cranes and has a capacity of 2.5 million 20-foot containers. Full operations are set to commence by the end of the first quarter 2023.
The port is situated within the Lagos Free Zone (LFZ), an 850ha private industrial zone built by Tolaram, which provides businesses with key infrastructure and benefits such as tax-free remittance of profits and dividends, the ability to export finished goods into the Nigeria Customs Territory, and exemption from government taxes, levies, and rates. Companies also have the advantage of free movement of goods to and from Lekki Deep Sea Port. Notable organisations that have a presence in the LFZ include BASF, Kellogg's and Colgate-Palmolive. The current shareholders in Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Limited (LPLEL) – which was awarded the concession for the development and operations of the facility – are China Harbour Engineering Company, holding the majority 52.5% stake; Tolaram with a 22.5% stake, and the Lagos State Government and the Nigerian Ports Authority owning the remaining shares.
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