By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has said that it is shopping for multilateral agencies who would fund the reconstruction of the Tin Can Island Port and Apapa ports in Lagos.
Acting Managing Director of NPA, Muhammed Bello-Koko who stated this in Lagos, said that the Honourable Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi had directed NPA to look at the possibilities of the reconstruction of the two ports.
The NPA boss stated that the agency is currently considering granting terminal operators the option to rebuild the dilapidated port, while NPA in turn, amortise and extend the tenure of the terminal operators leases.
He however said both Tin Can and Apapa Ports are not going to be expanded in terms of land mass because this would imply taking over people’s homes, offices, and pay compensations.
Bello-Koko noted that the only way to bring bigger vessels to Lagos ports is by deepening the Channel as well as rebuilding the Quay walls and building IT infrastructures.
Currently, he said the Quay walls have design limitations of 14 meters. This has made it impossible to dredge the Channel and Quays below 13.5 metres. Meanwhile, to bring bigger vessels of 16.5 or 20 meters which are the modern-day vessels sizes because of economies of scale, the channels must also be dredged deeper.
“This means there has to be a financial cost-benefit analysis on the cost implications and then, what is the revenue that is likely to be driven for such decisions to be taken.
“We have in recent times, instructions from the Honourable Minister of Transportation, that we look at the possibilities of the reconstruction of the ports and we have been holding stakeholder meetings.
“A Committee was set up to explore the best way to do it. Do we reconstruct the ports in Lagos maintaining the same Quay walls at the same depth? Or should we deepen it? A Consultant has been engaged to look at the whole of Tincan and Apapa and look at where there are the physical deficiencies in terms of the integrity of Quay walls; what are the civil engineering works that need to be done.
“And what needs to be done to modernise the ports is, first of all, in terms of physical infrastructure before the IT infrastructure will be discussed. The idea here is to take a decision to determine how it is carried out while we also look at the funding options.
“The NPA is currently looking around for multilateral agencies that would fund such projects. We do not have approval for it, but we are only being proactive trying to look at the funding options. Do you first of all, get a multilateral agency to fund it on behalf of Federal Government/NPA and you pay them or do you get the multilateral agencies to fund the terminal operators or do you ask the terminal operators to fund it and then you amortise overtime or you extend the tenure of their leases?
“But whatever the terminal operators bring, we will have to sit down and look at it. But what is the implication in terms of the cost of dredging and maintaining the channel to that 16.5 metres and then what is the cost of reconstructing the Quay to the depth of that 16.5 or 17 meters?