Promoters of the Lekki Deep Seaport in Lagos have said that pilot operations would begin at the port by fourth quarter of 2022. The company explained that the deep seaport would be ready by September this year when the project would have been fully completed.
Speaking during the tour of the site, one of the construction engineers who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity, confirmed that pilot operations would commence by December, 2022.
The engineer noted that the deep seaport with a draft of 16.5 meters depth had the capacity to berth the largest vessel in the world, adding that there were plans to still take the draft to 19.5 meters later on.
He said installations of some of the equipment were on-going and that plans were already on the way to acquire the Ship-To-Shore (STS) crane, which will be the first ever to be used in Nigeria.
The engineer explained that what is being used in Apapa port is the manual crane, but said the Lekki Deep Seaport will be fully automated considering the vessel to be accommodated at the port. He explained: “15 Rubber Tyres Gantries (RTGs) are expected to commence operation when the deep seaport begins operation. We have our foundation already for STS, which will be the firstever in Nigeria.
The STS has the capacity to lift containers directly from the sea to the land side, where they will do the inspection. “And, for the STS crane, we are going to have five, but we are starting with three; all these things are programmed and, like I said, it is fully automated.”
On evacuation, the engineer disclosed that there were three means of evacuation being planned, which include the road, rail and barges.
According to him, “once government comes with the rail, we will connect and the other one will be with the badges because we have a Lagoon not too far from here, those are the three evacuation strategies we are looking out for.”
It would be recalled that the Managing Director of the company, Du Ruogang, noted that the delivery of the Lekki Port project would go a long way in helping Nigeria to bridge the infrastructure gap in the country’s maritime sector.
Ruogang explained that China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), the EPC contractor, was working round-the-clock to ensure timely completion of the project and to deliver a worldclass port that would be the deepest in the sub-Saharan African region.
Ruogang stressed that the port project would be delivered by the third quarter of 2022 as scheduled, noting that the primary focus was to make progress on the construction for the commencement of port operations at Lekki.
Also, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Transport, Magdalene Ajani, had said that the developers of Lekki Port were working assiduously to meet the deadline of fourth quarter 2022 for commencement of commercial operations as directed by the minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi