Contract for building the port has been awarded to a consortium since November 2018 with a mandate to operate the port for 50 years
The construction of N1.13 trillion ($2.016 billion) Ibom Deepsea Port project has been shifted to 2022 after it was delayed for two years.
The construction of the port was slated to begin in 2019 and scheduled for completion in 2021. However, the state government failed to start the project after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) granted approval for the construction in 2018.
The Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, said during the presentation of the state’s 2022 budgetary outlay of N582.115 billion that government would commence the construction of Ibom Deep Seaport and development of the Ibom Industrial City to complement government efforts in the creation of enduring structures for 300,000 jobs, wealth creation and increased Internally Generate Revenue (IGR).
To actualise the project, the state government has dispatched a delegation of members of the Ibom Deep Seaport committee to Seoul, South Korea, for expertise to help offer inputs for the development of the seaport.
The state delegation was led by Nigeria’s Ambassador to South Korea, Ambassador Ali Magashi. Other members are the Secretary to the State Government, Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem, Commissioner for Economic Development and Ibom Deep Seaport, Mr Akan Okon, and Chairman of the Implementation Technical Committee, Mrs Mfon Usoro. Also, the contract for building the port had been awarded to a consortium of Bolloré Ports and PowerChina International Group in November 2018 with a mandate to operate the port for 50 years.
When it commences operation in 2023, the port would have a container terminal, which will have the capacity to accommodate up to 13 new Panamax-class container vessels and two large feeder vessels.
Also, handling capacity is expected to grow from 1.2 million twentyfoot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2022 to four million TEUs in 2040. Phase one of Ibom deep seaport project would involve development over approximately 505ha of land, which also includes dugout basin, while new 20kilometrelong and 450metre-wide channel approach would be built to allow two-way traffic for vessels.
It was gathered that having invested so much in the Ibom Deep Seaport, Governor Emmanuel has decided to seek ways that would ensure the Ibom Deep Seaport is optimally beneficial to Akwa Ibom people when it is finally established.
The greenfield project, which is expected to become the Eastern Gateway of Nigeria, would serve as a trans-shipment port for the West and Central Africa region and handle container, break bulk, dry bulk and liquid cargo.
A statement by Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Ekerete Udoh, noted that the Commissioner of Economic Development and Ibom Deep Sea Port, Akon Okon, explained that the visit was to Korea would help offer inputs for the development of the seaport.
Following the approval of the seaport by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), the commissioner said that the building of the $2.016 billion port would be constructed on a public private partnership (PPP) model.
Okon said that the first phase for the port construction would cost $2.016 billion which the private sector would take 60 per cent and the public sector 40 per cent, noting that the state government was projecting over 3,000 to 5,000 companies to provide services and customers at the port.
He added that the development of the port would provide about 300,000 jobs when the first phase of the port development is completed.
Okon noted: “The impact of the port will be felt not only at its location, but the entire state and beyond. When you have a port, a lot of businesses and activities will take place around there.
We don’t expect less when the Ibom Deep Seaport is operational in our state. “The bidding was done last year. We go through the processes, requested for qualification, proposal and subsequently evaluation of those submissions by the Ministerial Project Steering Committee including members of the Technical Committee for the realisation of the port representing Akwa Ibom State Government.
The preferred bidder for the management of the port is Bollore/Power China Consultium. They are already managing 21 ports in Africa. The showed capacity and what it takes in port management.
“In the next one year something substantial will be achieved. We are working to ensure before the exist of the present state administration in 2023, the first vessel will berth at the port and the Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel believes that this project is what is needed to turn around the economy of the state.”