…Expends $100million on Equipment Purchase
By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Lekki Freeport Terminal Chief Commercial Officer, Kehinde Olubi-Neye has said that the port is not in competition with Apapa and Tin Can Island ports, rather, it is looking forward to improve maritime trade and ensure return on investment for it’s stakeholders.
Mr. Olubi-Neye stated this at a media conference held at the port’s complex in Ibeju Lekki, on Wednesday in Lagos, adding that the Lekki Port is working with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to ensure the return of transshipment cargoes which Nigeria lost, years back.
He also revealed that the company has so far investment a humongous $100million on cargo handling equipment to ensure smooth operation and customer service.
According to him, trucks turn around time at the terminal is forty minutes, while the port is targeting a five to ten days for cargoes to exit the port, right from discharge from the ship to gate out.
Already, he said that Tlthere is a lot of buzz for the use of Lekki Port by shipping lines and Shippers and that weekly services are currently ongoing.
Speaking he said “We have only had Four commercial calls till date, so we are on a journey, I can assure you that our customers are priority to us, they would always be the first for us, and at every point in time, we would regularly engage with them.
“Our tariffs have been published and they are very competitive, we are assuring our stakeholders and investors on return of investments, this goes to NPA as a shareholder, this includes Lagos State Government as well, so we are very competitive.
“We are not here to compete, we are here to connect global maritime trade to Nigeria and that is why we have this deep draft here, we don’t have in any other ports in Lagos, arguably in some African countries as well.
“We are here to offer a service, we are here to improve maritime trade and that is what we would do, it is not to compete with other ports but to render a service to the Nigerian people”
Speaking on plans by the port to return Nigeria’s lost transshipment cargoes, Olubi-neye said “We had the opportunity of sitting with the Managing Director of NPA where he reiterated that the Lekki port should get this cargo and ensure that the transshipment status that was taken away from the country returns.
“NPA regulates prices and they are interested in ensuring this cargo comes back and we are sure they will provide us with the necessary support,” Olubi-Neye said.
He added that the company was conducting truck and driver registration to ensure seamless movement around the port vicinity.
“Our gates are automated and is linked with our vehicle booking system where truck drivers are required to book appointments in advance.
“It is also available on mobile phones and provides visibility on gates transactions.
“This also supports the initiative of the Lagos State Government with regard to the comprehensive call-up system for the Lagos Free Zone, Lekki Port, Dangote Free Zone, Dangote Refinery, and the Pinnacle Oil and Gas.
“We are in discussions with the Lagos State Ministry of Transport and other stakeholders on the deployment of the call-up system for the Lekki area and we have confident that the call-up system for trucks will address concerns of prospective port users will have over access to the port,” he said.
Olubi-Neye also commended the Federal Government and the Lagos State Government for road construction around the ports.
He, however, disclosed that the company would explore the possibility of moving cargo by barges.
“We have begun to execute more than five barges moves of over 900TEUs from Lekki Port to the Ikorodu area of Lagos”
In his submission, the Chief Executive Officer, Lekki Freeport Terminal, Yann Magarian, said the project would shape the maritime economy of the country, adding that the port is fully automated and equipped with modern equipment.
Meanwhile, various agencies of government working at the Lekki Port facility has pledged adequate support for the privately owned seaport.
Also speaking at the media parley, Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello Koko, while commending promoters of the seaport, said the Authority is proud of the project.
Represented by Technical Assistant, Ikechukwu Onyemekara, the Managing Director described the seaport as “Nigerian project and we all proud of it”.
Explaining further, the Managing Director said: “We want to continue and support every necessary approval. Its our project. We are committed to it”.
Speaking in a similar vein, Zonal Administrator, Nigeia Export Processing Authority (NEPZA), Garba Hayatu assured promoter of the seaport of necessary incentives, “All equipment were brought in duty free”.
Representatives of Nigeria Customs Service, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) also at the event announced their presence at the Port and commended promoters of the project for creating conducive atmosphere for all stakeholders.