From Anthony Nwachukwu, Lagos
A procurement process, beginning with the search for private sector port developers/operators, will commence this month as Nigeria prepares to make the Ibom Deep Sea Port (IDSP) in Akwa Ibom State the pioneer sub-regional trans-shipment hub for West and Central Africa.
The project’s technical committee said that already, Global Maritime and Port Services Ltd (GMAPS) of Singapore has been chosen as transaction advisor while PwC Nigeria is the project manager for the facility being jointly developed by the federal and Akwa Ibom State governments.
According to the committee, the IDSP is one of the most promising Public Private Partnership (PPP) infrastructure initiatives in Africa because of its unique/unparalleled investment opportunities to international seaport developers/operators/investors.
Strategically located in the South East of Akwa Ibom State, the facility spans 2,565 hectares Greenfield port area designed for New Panamax Class vessels with channel (18.24m), with turning basin and berth depth of 16.72 metre and a quay length of 7.5 kilometres.
Accordingly, the container terminals will be able to accommodate up to 13 New Panamax Class container vessels and two very large feeder vessels when fully developed, priming it to become the first trans-shipment hub in West and Central Africa.
“With limited land to expand the existing seaports in Lagos and the inhibiting conditions against the development or expansion of other ports in neighbouring countries, IDSP offers an ultra-modern facility with modern cargo handling equipment, facilities and systems,” the committee added.
The facility boasts such strengths as “proximity to target markets in West and Central Africa, neighbouring hinterland countries and major shipping lines calling West/Central Africa,” the statement noted.
Others include “large gateway market size to attract direct vessel services and sizeable trans-shipment cargo for feeder shipping network connection, as well as its capacity to handle post and New Panamax vessels at its specialised terminals.”
More so, with its 18.24m channel, turning basin and berth depth of 16.72m and quay length of about 7.5km, the infrastructure is being designed for New Panamax Class vessels.
According to the promoters, trans-shipment container market for the IDSP is estimated to grow from about 1.2 million TEUs in 2021 to about four million TEUs in 2040.
Also, when the port is fully developed, the container terminals will be able to accommodate up to 13 New Panamax Class container vessels and two very large feeder vessels.
“The IDSP is positioned to offer a value proposition superior to other seaports in the region,” providing a viable alternative for major shipping lines sailing these routes, as the various seaports in the region are already at saturation level, the promoters stated.