The China Harbor Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC) on Monday handed over Nigeria's first deep sea port to the government after the completion of the huge maritime project in the country's economic hub city of Lagos.
The completion ceremony of Lekki port which took place at the Lekki Area Site in Lagos State brought together dignitaries and stakeholders from Nigeria and China as well as their international partners.
In his address, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwolu expressed his gratitude to the Chinese government for its support of Nigeria's infrastructure, and praised Chinese enterprises for completing the project construction efficiently and on schedule.
"The benefit of this project and the benefits to our citizens can be left better imagined, providing jobs for close to 200,000 people with direct and indirect jobs in the next couple of months ahead.
In addition, we can see the figure adding tens of billions in dollar revenue to our country and to our state and to the host community in taxes and revenue," said Babajide Sanwo-Olu, state governor of Lagos.
Constructed by the CHEC, the Lekki Deep Sea Port is the largest seaport in Nigeria, and one of the biggest in West Africa. The construction of the port commenced in June 2020, and is designed to handle 1.2 million standard containers annually.
As a commercial project of tripartite cooperation between China, France and Nigeria, Lekki port is of great significance for promoting Belt and Road cooperation in Africa, said the ambassador.
"The French side has their experience, shipping routes and cargo volume, then our Chinese side has the construction, use, and maintenance of this port, plus Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa. We are very optimistic," said Wu Di, deputy general manager of China Harbor Engineering Company.
China's Ambassador to Nigeria Cui Jianchun said Lekki port and the Lekki Free Trade Zone could work together to spur economic development.
"This is very, very important for Lagos State and also it is very important that I categorize here the deep sea port as a gateway for Nigeria. So Nigeria now through this maritime road can build with the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative. I think that is very, very critical for Nigerian commodities to go to the international market," said Cui. The new port has two container berths, which can berth the world's largest Panamax cargo ship.