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Nigeria sees Lekki deep-sea port operating from March 2023, to ease cargo congestion

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Nigeria hopes that a new deep-sea port set to open early next year will end maritime congestion and help boost an economy grappling with soaring inflation, stagnating growth and slumping foreign investment.

Cargo ships in Africa’s largest economy currently wait as much as a month offshore before unloading in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub.

But the planned opening in March of the Lekki Deep Sea Port, on the eastern edge of the city, has the potential to slash wait times to two days, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko said in an interview.

“It changes everything because Lekki will be faster, it has more space, and it is more modern,” Bello-Koko said.

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The first phase of the $1.5 billion project will have a capacity of 1.2 million 20-foot containers, more than double the capacity of the country’s existing ports.

Inefficiency, corruption, decaying infrastructure and congestion at the Lagos ports have led to cargoes bound for Nigeria being diverted to Ghana and Togo, costing billions in lost revenues and raising local prices. The Lekki port will reverse the trend, Bello-Koko said.

The port is co-owned by the Nigerian government and Singapore-based Tolaram, Nigeria’s biggest food company, and state-owned China Harbour Engineering, which built it. The facility will be operated by a subsidiary of French shipping giant CMA CGM.

Trial operations will begin in December ahead of a full commercial start in March. ~Bloomberg

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