The $50 billion Escravos Seaport Industrial Project would be completed between 2024 and 2025, Chairman, Mercury Maritime Concession Company (MMCC), Rear Admiral Andrew Okoja (rtd.) has said.
Okoja, who disclosed this during a side interview with reporters at the recently held World Hydrography Day (WHD) symposium at the Naval Dockyard Limited (NDL), Victoria Island, Lagos, added that the project sited at Gbaramatu in Delta State, encompasses the construction of a deep seaport, gas plant, nature park, and an airport on 31,000 hectares of land.
According to Okoja, his firm famed for constructing quality maritime infrastructure was undertaking the project on a Build, Operate, Own, and Transfer (BOOT) Model.
He said: “We are a privately-driven enterprise, and the multi-billion dollar deep seaport project we are working on is similar to the Lagos Deep Seaport Project.
“Our Escravos Seaport Industrial Project consists of a deep seaport as well as a number of other large-scale initiatives, including a refinery, a gas plant, a free trade zone, a nature park, and an airport.
“The deep seaport and connectivity have only recently begun, and the contract is for roughly $50 billion.
“Like the Lagos Deep Seaport, this port is built, owned, operated, and transferred (BOOT), and delivery is anticipated to occur between 2024 and 2025.
“About 25 foreign and local consultants and partners are working on this project, which is being directed by the MMCC.
“The Port of Antwerp International, the second-largest port in Europe after Rotterdam Port, is organising it.”
He added that the port’s value at each stage would be defined by the amount of cargo flow, adding that its strong connectivity provided a solid operational base.
“We have taken care of marine connectivity, rail connectivity, and road connectivity. This means that the worth of the Port itself is defined by the volume of cargo movement.
“As a result of its size, it will cover almost 70 per cent of the country’s geographical spread.
“For instance, from the port, the River Niger and Onitsha are connected by water via the Escravos port. The second phase ascends to Lokoja from Onitsha.
“The first phase will cover roughly 350km, with 200km from Onitsha to Lokoja and 200km from the port,” he explained.
He said the port would also be connected by rail to Warri, Itakpe and Ajaokute, adding that the about 47km rail from Escravos Port to Warri would be an electric train and would be powered by about 2,000mw electricity.
While noting that a concession agreement for 50 to 75 years was being discussed with the Federal Ministry of Transportation, Okoja said the project would be inaugurated by the Suez Canal Authority of Egypt, with whom the business had signed a Memorandum of Understanding.
He said the third connectivity was a direct route along the Koko intersection from the Escravos sea port to the Warri-Sapele Road.
“We are also concessioning for another 50 years and we will be tolling. With this, we have the inflow and outflow of goods, and we predict that we can cover 70 per cent of the earth’s surface.
“As a result, both air and landborne cargo would enter, and the flow of a port determines its worth.
“We mobilised all these contractors because we have the temporary approval from the federal government to build the port.
“The Lagos ports are anticipated to become less crowded upon project completion and launch, and thousands of jobs are anticipated to be created in the sector,” Okoja posited.