Nigeria’s $1.675 billion Lekki deep sea port receives $221 million in equity funding from China Harbour Engineering Company


Nigeria’s $1.675 billion Lekki deep sea port development has received $221 million in equity funding from China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), the Chinese marine contractor that had earlier won the engineering, procurement and construction contract for the project that is expected to be the deepest in Sub Saharan Africa.

Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Limited (LPLEL), a joint venture of Singapore-based Tolaram Group (75%), Nigeria’s Federal Government through the Nigerian Ports Agency (5%) and the Lagos State Government (20%), said in a statement in early April the CHEC funding “will greatly contribute to fast tracking the timely delivery of the project and bring about economic prosperity to Nigeria as a whole.”

CHEC, an affiliate of China Construction and Communication Company, is executing a $680 million phase of the contract through its subsidiary China Harbour Engineering LFTZ Enterprise with U.S. project management consultant, Louis Berger, now WSP, having led the EPC selection process. WSP is also handling the contract management, reviewing the project design and overseeing the construction works.

Other components of the port project include construction of infrastructure for water supply and distribution and wastewater treatment, a 30MW power plant for port operations, communications networks and acquisition of container terminal equipment such as ship-to-shore cranes at the quay and gantry stacking cranes at the container yard.

Earlier in October 2019, LPLEL announced a $629 million debt financing deal with the China Development Bank for the project with the African Development Bank for construction of the port that broke ground in July 2012. The initial plan was to have the project completed within 41 months. In October 2019, CHEC Chairman Lin Yichong said the company “would do all it takes to deliver this deep sea port within 30 months.”

CHEC had in May 2012 edged out 18 other bidders to win the EPC contract to design, build, own, operate and transfer three container berths with total annual capacity of 2.7 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), a 4.5MT dry bulk berth and three liquid berths that can handle 16.7MT of liquid cargo.

The Chinese contractor is dredging an estimated 13 million cu m of material from the bottom of the sea. At least 4.5 million cu m of the dredged material will be used to reclaim and protect a beach area within the Lekki port and the rest dumped at designated offshore site.

LPLEL has been awarded a 45-year concession by the state port operator in Nigeria to develop, finance, build, operate, and transfer the Lekki port located within the Lagos Free Trade Zone, 65km east of Nigeria’s commercial capital of Lagos. LPLEL will recover its project costs from revenue accrued from operating the port and its associated facilities over the 45-year period.

The port, which is sitting on 90ha of the Lagos Free Trade Zone land, has a 14m deep navigation channel that is 600m wide, 6km long while the main breakwater, which is constructed of rubble mound type with concrete armor block on the outer layer, runs 1500m long. The secondary breakwater is 300m long.

A project brief by LPLEL says the container terminal that is linked to the port has a quay 1200m long with three container berths and a storage yard that has 15,000 ground slots.

“The strategic location, flexible and optimized layout and modern facilities provide Lekki port a distinct competitive edge over any other port facility in West African region,” LPLEL says.

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