The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), has disclosed that that importers would clear their cargoes out of the Lekki deep seaport in two days.
Speaking with Journalists against the backdrop of the Lekki port full commercial operation, the managing director of NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko, stated that unlike two weeks that it takes for cargo clearance at Apapa port, it will take two days to move cargoes out of Lekki port.
Bello-Koko further started that the deep seaport has started wresting cargoes meant for Nigerian ports from neighbouring countries including Benin Republic, Togo, and Ghana.
It will be recalled that on January 23, 2013, the Lekki Deep Seaport, described as the ‘game changer’ in ports operation in Nigeria and the West African sub-region, was inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The first commercial vessel had berthed at the nation’s first deep seaport on April 1, 2023 with a draft of about 16.5 metres.
The NPA MD said, “I must say it is the first time a government will start construction of a port, finish and commission it before leaving office. As you know, the Lekki Deep Seaport has been in the brain box for over 10 years; it is this administration that came in and gave all the necessary support through the Ministry of Transportation and the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA).
They have done the test run on all the necessary equipment, they have done their recruitments, people have been training and the vessels have started coming in, at least, we had a vessel that came in to take out empty containers and by April, we expect that the first commercial vessel will start coming.
“So business has started actually in Lekki Deep Sea Port. So, everything is ready and it is going to be automated as we said and all the gaps we observed either in Tincan Island Port or Apapa, whether in terms of scanners, equipment and others, you will find all of them in Lekki,’’ Bello-Koko said.
On the ‘game-changer’ status of the Lekki Deep Sea port, the NPA boss explained that unlike two weeks it takes for cargo clearing at Apapa port in Lagos, at Lekki it would it would be out in just two days.
Bello-Koko said with the Lekki Deep Sea port the NPA had been able to wrest cargoes from neighbouring countries back to the country.
“It changes everything. For instance, you are an importer, and you know that going to Apapa, sending in your cargo or importing your cargo through Apapa will take you two weeks. Whether because the road is bad, whether because the Customs scanning system is limited, or probably the automation is not complete and so on and so forth, it will take you two weeks.”
“But if you take it through Lekki, probably in two days you are out. First of all is for you to determine who are the importers of these cargoes and if you determine that, you will then ask why they are taking these cargoes to those locations. As I have said earlier, what we simply did was just improve efficiency.
On trans-shipment of cargo, Bello-Koko said the Authority was already working on it, pointing out that neighbouring countries have it but Nigeria currently does not have.
He said, “Neighbouring countries have cargo trans-shipment nut we don’t have. So you find that the bigger vessels go to Lome and then they use smaller vessels to bring the cargo into Nigeria.”
“But that is what Lekki wants to start doing and they already have a market for it, it is just to have the necessary cooperation by relevant government agencies, so that happens.
“So you find that that brings in more revenue to Nigerian Port Authority, more activities into Nigeria also. So it changes that perspective. We are no more going to have situations where cargo cannot come into Nigeria because of lack of port infrastructure.”