From Anthony Nwachukwu, Lagos
Mercury Maritime Concession Company Limited (MMCC) and Port of Antwerp are collaborating to build the proposed $2.9 billion Escravos Seaport Industrial Complex (ESIC) to boost the economy of Delta State and boost the nation.
The Escravos seaport is planned to occupy a 20,000-hectare land that will harbour a deep seaport, international airport, Free Trade Zone, crude oil refinery and gas complex, a residential estate and recreational components.
Chairman of MMCC, Rear Admiral Andrews Okoja (rtd), disclosed during the Sailing Club Exhibition Race 2021 in Lagos that when they got a provisional approval, “one of the first things we are supposed to do is to put together a team of consultant financiers and partners.
“One of the partners that played a major role in the seaport complex project is the Escravos Seaport project; actually it is a deep seaport project.
“They have visited us and signed a partnership agreement with us on this project. They came to Lagos and have other programmes with Delta State. And we intend to continue our relationship with Port of Antwerp International on this particular project.”
Okoja explained that the project is in two phases – ESIC 1 and ESIC 2, with ESIC 1 as the seaport complex and backbone of the project, while ESIC 2 would open up waterway transportation from Escravos Seaport to the hinterland through Rivers Niger and Benue, and such other arears as Onitsha, Lokoja, Makurdi and others.
He further disclosed that MMCC was working with the Lagos State Government to develop Snake Island into an industrial estate, with all protocols and everything on the project already completed, awaiting the approval by the state executive council.
On their part, the Port of Antwerp has expressed deep conviction about the future of Nigeria’s ports. According to the Managing Director, Kristof Watershoot, “at Antwerp Port International, we are very convinced in the general potential of the whole region, especially Nigeria.
“We are convinced of the future of new port project in this country. We have met with the team of MMCC on several occasions and will start working together on further developing the Escravos Seaport project with other partners, and there are a lot of them available.
“On our side, it will be a step-by-step approach. We started collaboration on the partnership side and have signed the collaboration. As you know, this kind of project has a lot of steps to take, we need to see how the team can further grow and how we can help in making the project realized.”