The Mercury Maritime Concession Company (MMCC) Ltd. has moved to decongest the Lagos ports as it revealed plans to establish a $2.9 billion deep seaport at Escravos, Delta.
The project which is expected to be completed within 5 years would be run on a build, own, operate and transfer model for a period of 50 years with funding coming from overseas.
This disclosure was made by the Chairman of MMCC, Rear Admiral Andrew Okoja, on Friday, April 23, 2021, at a stakeholders’ forum for the proposed Escravos Seaport Industrial Complex (ESIC – 1) project in Lagos, saying that the project was at its preparatory stage.
What the Chairman of MMCC is saying
Okoja in his statement said, “MMCC is the promoter of the Escravos Seaport Industrial Complex (ESIC-1) project; this is a maritime-driven project cited in Escravos in Delta State, on approximately 31 hectares of land.
This project will consist of a deep seaport, others and a platform to drive resources from one point to another.
We went into this project because we have the capacity, experience and connections; we decided to deploy them to solve the maritime problem of the country,” he said.
Going further, he said that the project was expected to create about 30,000 to 40,000 jobs for the residents in surrounding communities and would help solve the problem of piracy and militancy in the Niger Delta.
He said the Federal Ministry of Transportation had already given provisional approval for the project asking the company to deposit the sum of $1 billion dollars as evidence of capacity and commitment to follow due process.
He said, “As a form of support, the government is bringing land; we will pay for it and then we will pay our tax. The Nigerian Ports Authority’s role is that of monitoring.’’
A transport consultant, Prof. Charles Asenime, said that the proposed $2.9 billion seaport project which includes a deep seaport, free trade zone, crude oil refinery and gas complex, would boost economic development.
Other components of the project include industrial layouts, an independent power plant, a nature conservation park, an international airport and the development of prime infrastructure, new towns and cities.
Why this matters
The construction of this deep seaport would help boost employment opportunities, give Delta State direct multimodal transport accessibility to 70% of Nigeria’s landmass, four geo-political zones and Abuja, and several nations of the world.
It would help reduce the pressure on the Lagos ports, which is characterized by congestion and long delay in clearing goods, improve the ease of doing business at the ports and provide support for the African Continental Free Trade Agreement operations, among others.
What you should know
A couple of deep seaport projects are going on across the country, to help decongest the Lagos ports. Some of these seaport projects include the Lekki deep seaport which is expected to be operational by next year, the $4.6 billion Ibom deep seaport, the bonny deep seaport which will be linked to the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri Rail line and the Warri deep seaport.