Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise (LPLE), the promoters of Lekki Deep Sea Port and the CMA CGM Group, a leader in maritime transport, have signed a Memorandum of Agreement to operate Lekki Port's future container terminal.
Located in Nigeria, Africa's largest economy, the future Lekki Deep Sea Port would be developed, built and operated by LPLE, a joint venture enterprise led by the Tolaram Group, the Lagos State Government (LASG) and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
As the container terminal operator, CMA CGM, through its subsidiary CMA Terminals, will be responsible for marketing, operations and maintenance of the container terminal at Lekki Deep Sea Port.
The Lekki port is Nigeria's first deep-sea port and upon completion in 2020, it will have two container berths.
Speaking on this development, the Chief Executive Officer of Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise, Navin Nahata described the signing of the agreement with the CMA CGM Group as another step in the right direction towards the actualisation of the port, which would become the deepest port in Sub-Saharan Africa.
"We are excited about this development because CMA Terminals is a world class port operator and can be relied upon to provide international port standard delivery services at par with most modern ports around the world to the Nigerian port customers," he said.
On his part, Executive Officer of the CMA CGM Group, Farid Salem, said: "We are pleased to sign this Memorandum of Agreement with LPLE to operate Lekki Port's container terminal. As Nigeria's first deep sea port, Lekki Port represents a strategic choice for the CMA CGM Group. Thanks to its position and capacity, Lekki Port will allow us to bring to Nigeria larger containerships from Europe and Asia to better serve our customers and pursue our commitment to the development of the entire region. With CMA CGM's unique service offering and expertise combined with our logistics and inland services, our presence in Lekki Port will benefit the entire Nigerian supply chain and market as well as neighbouring countries."
He added: "The choice of Lekki Port, which will aid the reduction of congestion in the port of Lagos, is fully in line with the CMA CGM Group's development in the region. Lekki Port's container terminal will allow the Group to develop its presence into West Africa's first consumer market and will serve as a trans shipment hub, especially to neighbouring countries like Togo and Benin.
"Upon completion, the container terminal will be equipped with a 1,200-meter-long quay as well as 13 quay cranes and will have a capacity of 2.5 million TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units). With its 16-meter depth, it will allow the Group to deploy ships with a capacity of up to 14,000 TEUs. Operations are planned to start end of 2020.
"The CMA CGM Group is highly committed to the development of port infrastructure on the African continent where it is the second largest shipping company. The Group is particularly present in sub-Saharan Africa with a network of 75 agencies and nearly 1,400 experts. In the region, the Group operates 30 services thanks to a fleet of 87 ships calling at 248 ports."
The federal government of Nigeria recently pledged its total support to the Lekki Port project at the official flag-off ceremony by President Muhammadu Buhari who was represented by Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.