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Investors Secure N768bn For Lagos-Abdjan Water Transportation

Posted on July 1, 2024

Agence Française de Développement (AFD),  European Investment Bank (EIB) and Afremixbank are putting N768 billion together to support investors to open Lagos- Abdjan waterways for transportation. Findings revealed that AFD and EIB would support the investor with N768 billion (€411 million), while Afreximbank will roll out N94 billion ($61.5 million) for the inland  water transport sector.

The Team Lead, Regional Cooperation, European Union (EU) led by Celine Lhoste, who expressed readiness to partner with the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) to improve regional trade and deepen investments in the transport sector, said that the proposed intervention, dubbed the “Omi Eko” project was aimed at reducing transport congestion and transportation cost in  Lagos State. She said: “We will start in a couple of months after all documents have been signed. We are meeting with  Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) and all necessary agencies to sort out the different agreements.

“We also want to meet the various agencies and partners like NSC to know the strategic planning for shipping and the improvement of transportation within the  Lagos area, across the nation and for the region.” Lhoste noted that the EU pioritises support for transportation and trade through the Lagos- Abidjan corridor and the Omi  Eko project. According to her, EU was supporting  Lagos but not just looking at an improvement in transportation of people and goods within Nigeria but also across the neighbouring countries.

She said that the delegation was at the council to seek its input and collaboration on the project and consequently discuss plans for transportation, especially in decongesting the Lagos ports, increasing trade in the region along the corridor. Also, the Transport Officer of EU’s Directorate General International Partnerships, Jesus Gavilan explained that the project was considering providing hard and soft infrastructure for Nigeria and the West African sub-region. Gavilan stressed that there was an initiative launched two years ago by the President of the European Commission to improve connectivity between Africa and Europe, noting that to achieve that, “transportation was key with regards to the infrastructure.

He said: “We are committed to invest in the development of corridors across Africa. We have selected about 12 corridors, but we want to support countries on this Lagos-Abidjan corridor. We also want you to support and give an appraisal of ‘Omi  Eko,’ which is for waterway transportation in  Lagos. “We look forward to opportunities to collaborate in order to boost transportation and trade along the Lagos-Abidjan corridor, as well as other opportunities such as railways, among others.”

The NSC Executive Secretary, Mr. Pius Akutah, who was represented by the Director of Human resources, Mrs. Ada Okam urged the EU to collaborate with the agency in those areas to aid port decongestion, transportation and other related matters. Akutah listed the agency’s other duties to include setting tariffs and handling charges at ports, which he said has helped reduce overtime cargoes and abandonment of cargoes.

He noted: “The council also monitors the joint boarding exercises on ships by examination agencies. This helps to reduce the time vessels spend at the ports and it improves ship turnaround time.” Recalled that the $61.5 million regional Sealink project being promoted in 2023 by the Nigerian Export-Import (NEXIM) to establish and operate a maritime shipping company, will connect the West African coastal ports as well as link parts in order to facilitate trade.

The initiative will gulp $60 million in equipment and working capital and $1.5 million for the operation of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for the promotion of the concept among member countries. The funding of the landmark project includes 40 per cent equity participation by private investors, while the remaining 40 per cent capital would come from institutional investors in the form of loans.

The Managing Director/Chief Executive, NEXIM Bank, Mr. Abba Bello, said as a trade policy institution, the bank embarked on the deliberate policy initiative to bridge maritime infrastructure gaps towards lowering logistics cost to foster trade with the promotion of the regional sealink project.


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