Nigeria Sets Aside $1 Billion for Port Rehabilitation

Nigeria's newly-built Lekki Port container terminal (NSA)
Nigeria's newly-built Lekki Port container terminal (NPA)

Published Mar 10, 2024 12:46 PM by The Maritime Executive


The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has announced a massive rehabilitation effort for the country’s major ports. In a strategy paper released last week detailing measures to consolidate ports’ performance, NPA said it had put aside $1 billion for reconstruction of Tincan Island, Apapa, Rivers, Onne, Warri and Calabar Port complexes.

The authority also revealed that it had allocated and is mobilizing extra funds for development of new deep seaports, including Badagry Deep Seaport in Lagos State, Snake Island, Burutu and Ondo ports.

At a conference in Lagos last November, NPA Managing Director Mohammed Bello-Koko said that rehabilitation works at Nigerian ports was long-overdue, especially at Tincan and Apapa ports. Together, the ports handle about 70 percent of the country’s imports.

“The objective of the authority is to enhance the physical infrastructure of these ports to accommodate vessels of all sizes and increase draft by up to 14 meters,” added Bello-Koko.

Meanwhile, NPA announced in the strategy paper that ongoing reforms have seen its revenue surge from $226 million in 2022 to $314 million in 2023. Some of the recent changes include promotion of multi-modal transport, with NPA starting barge services to reduce pressure on the roads.

“Movement of cargo by barge has greatly enhanced port-hinterland connectivity as evidenced by meteoric rise in numbers from a total of 80,244 TEUs in 2022 to 118,046 TEUs last year,” said NPA.

Another major milestone is on the number of ship calls, as NPA continues with dredging of channels and improving security at the port entry points. The number of ship calls grew from 1,997 in 2022 to 2,179 by the end of 2023.

Last year also saw the opening of Lekki Port, which has dramatically changed the country’s shipping industry. With a capacity to handle over 2.7 million TEU in a year, Lekki Port is poised to win back more transshipment business for Nigeria. According to NPA, Lekki Port processed 6,076 TEU of transshipment cargo in the last year, which according to the agency is a major step in winning back “the cargo hitherto lost to our maritime neighbors.”

A re-organization of shipping services to West Africa by Maersk and CMA CGM has also put Lekki Port on the map. Early this year, the port celebrated the arrival of the 13,000 TEU Maersk Edirne, which is the largest containership ever to dock in Nigeria. It was followed on January 28 by CMA CGM Scandola, with a capacity of 15,128 TEU. NPA recently purchased two Damen-built ASD harbor tugs to help with the berthing of Post-Panamax-sized container ships.