The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has expressed worry over lack of inter-modal connectivity for evacuation of cargoes at Lekki deep seaport and Dangote refinery at the Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ).
NPA insisted that to save Lagos from a worse menace that port and petroleum tank farm operations are causing at the Apapa port city and environs, the developers must include a link for rail, pipelines and alternative roads network.
The LFTZ is hosting a 650,000 barrels per day (bpd) Dangote Refinery and the largest seaport in Nigeria.
The promoters of the Lekki Deep Seaport project, Tolaram group, are targeting about 1.5 million 20 feet equivalent units container capacity annually, which is expected to grow to about 2.7million and 4.7million TEUs, when the operations commences.
The project is being primed to be one of the largest deep water ports in the sub-Sahara Africa and also serve as the hub of ports operations in the whole of West Africa with the potentials of influencing the generation of about 170,000 direct and indirect jobs in the nation.
Speaking at a media chat on Nigeria’s hosting of the International Association of Port and Harbour (IAPH), Managing Director of the NPA, Hadiza Bala-Usman said she was alarmed at the discovery that the Lekki Deep Seaport has no plan for rail connectivity.
“Before we took over two years ago,there was no provision for rail connection out of Lekki, in the Deep Sea port plan, which I found quite strange that you can have a deep sea port without the need for rail connection.
“It will take you two years to build the port but five years to build the rail. So, we have written the Nigerian Railway Corporation to ensure that there is a rail connection.
“The same way we have written the Dangote Refinery to have pipeline evacuation mechanism out of Lekki, so that you don’t have trucks parking and looking for where to pick products from the refinery. There is also a proposed Lekki By-Pass in addition to the rail connectivity.
“So, one, there must be pipeline for product evacuation; two, there must be rail connection, three, there must be additional means of road transportation and access.
“Also, we need to work to have some sanity in five years’ time. If we do not deploy what is required now, in five to ten years’ time, Lekki will be unmanageable. I am a believer of starting something, even if you do not finish it, start it”, she added.