Sanwo-Olu, Oyetola Receive Grimaldi’s Largest Container-RORO Vessel

Sanwo-Olu, Oyetola Receive Grimaldi’s Largest Container-RORO Vessel

Eromosele Abiodun

In a development that signaled a new vista for Nigeria, the largest container-RORO ship to visit Nigeria and the West African sub-region, MV Great Lagos, berthed at the Tin Can Island Port in Lagos yesterday.

MV Great Lagos, which is on its maiden call to Nigeria’s largest multipurpose roll-on-roll-off (RORO) terminal, the Port Terminal Multipurpose Limited (PTML) at the Tin Can Island Port Complex, Lagos, is owned by the Grimaldi Group.

Speaking at a reception organised to celebrate the maiden call of the ship, the Minister for Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, said the successful berthing of the vessel testified the dedication of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and PTML to enhance efficiency at the port.

The Minister commended Grimaldi Group and PTML for deploying the vessel to Nigeria and for adding value to the Nigerian economy.

Represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, he pledged his commitment towards creating an enabling environment for the growth and development of Nigeria’s maritime sector.

Otetola, said the present administration was also developing sound policies for the sector even as it promised to pursue vigorously, the development of shipping, maritime and related sectors with a view to ensuring sustainable development.

“As MV Great Lagos continues to voyage, let us collectively embrace the spirit of adventure and exploration. May every voyage be a testament to the resilience and indomitable spirit that propels us forward into uncharted territories. May MV Great Lagos bring prosperity and success to all who are involved in this journey,” the minister added.

He said the successful arrival of the vessel was a testimony of the dedication and commitment of the PTML to push general cargo component with a view to enhancing the quality of service delivery.

He commended the dedicated crew on board the vessel for their commitment towards ensuring the successful delivery of the vessel without any incident, which he said was purely due to their professionalism and expertise.

For his part, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, represented by his Deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, said the visit of the MV Great Lagos to Tin-Can Island Port was an expression of the confidence of the international community in Nigeria.

He also commended the Grimaldi Group for its investment in Lagos State.

He noted that the arrival of the vessel not only signified the delivery and achievement of the nation’s shared vision, but also the strength of Nigeria’s alliances in the world of commerce.

He also commended the Grimaldi Group for its investment in Lagos State.

Also, the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko, said apart from the high loading capacity and several other distinctive features of the vessel, the authority was fascinated by the great attention to environmental impact that was infused into its construction.

He stressed that the fact that the G5-class vessel was technologically equipped to reduce CO2 emissions per transported tonne up to 43 per cent ahead of previous classifications gave the nation great delight as it signposts the seriousness of Nigeria’s commitment to the dictates of the 2023 International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) Green House Gas (GHG) Strategy, which envisages a reduction in carbon intensity of international shipping by at least 40 per cent by the year 2030.

He reiterated that the Authority’s port modernisation project and ongoing reform initiatives around port operations was cognisant of the impact of global energy transition, maintaining that the Authority have deliberately factored in measures that promote energy efficiency.

“This means that we would have zero-tolerance for non-compliance by our stakeholders. Coming immediately after the launch of her sister ship ‘Great Antwerp, the christening of this vessel “Great Lagos,’ symbolises the fact that the Nigerian business environment is progressively getting better.

“With shipping volumes promising to get higher, forward looking investments such as the one we are gathered here to celebrate will certainly have a big impact in the long run.

“So I want to assure you that the Authority will continue to galvanise stakeholder efforts to continuously promote the ease of doing business all in a concerted bid to optimise the rich blue economy inherent in our maritime endowments,” he vowed.

In his welcome address, the Managing Director of PTML, Mr. Ascanio Russo, said the new ultra-modern megaship was a marvel of modern engineering and environmental consciousness, stretching 290 meters in length with a beam of 38 meters and deadweight of over 45,000 tonnes.

The ship, he said, has the capacity to transport 4.7 kilometres of rolling freight, 2,500 Car Equivalent Units (CEUs), and 2,000 Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs).

He said MV Great Lagos was the second of the G5-class of ships recently launched by the Grimaldi Group and named after Nigeria’s commercial capital, which it has served for many decades.

“Today marks a significant milestone, not only for PTML and Grimaldi but for Lagos and Nigeria as a whole. We are gathered here on board this magnificent ship to celebrate the maiden call of the ‘Great Lagos’, a majestic vessel in the new G5 class of Ro/Ro multi-purpose ships.

“The naming of this vessel is not merely a coincidence; it is a deliberate and meaningful choice that reflects the deep and enduring connection between the Grimaldi Group and the port city of Lagos,” he said.

Russo, said for more than six decades, the Grimaldi Group had been a cornerstone in the development of trade and maritime relations with Nigeria, a journey of mutual growth, understanding, and unwavering commitment.

“The arrival of the ‘Great Lagos’ is not just an addition to our fleet but a reaffirmation of our devotion to the Nigerian economy and its vibrant economic capital.

“The ‘Great Lagos’ is amongst the largest ships ever built in its class.  This is not just an upgrade; it is a leap into the future of maritime transport and we are proud that we are witnessing this in Nigeria.

“But the greatness of the ‘Great Lagos’ is not measured solely by her size or capacity. This vessel stands as a testament to our enthusiasm to achieve the minimum environmental impact.

“With technological advancements allowing for a reduction of CO2 emissions by up to 43 per cent per tonne transported, the ‘Great Lagos’ is a beacon of sustainable maritime transport, setting new industry standards.

“At PTML, the port terminal which is hosting us now, we have always prided ourselves on being at the forefront of technological advancement and operational efficiency.

“Our terminal, the largest multipurpose terminal in Nigeria, stands as a clear demonstration of our ambitions. In the last one year alone, we have invested over $20 million to upgrade our facilities to receive this beautiful ship.

“We have been extending our quay by over 40 meters while strengthening it to enable us to receive and operate a new Mobile Harbour Crane. All of this to accommodate the “Great Lagos.

“This investment underscores our strive to achieve operational excellence, while delivering efficient and cost effective logistics services to the broader Nigerian economy and its people. It reinforces our position as a key player in the maritime sector and confirms our readiness to take the port of Lagos on larger roles in the global trading community,” he stressed.

The PTML Managing Director added: “Our efforts align seamlessly with the vision and support of the Nigerian authorities. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the Ministry of Transport, now the Ministry of the Blue Economy, and the Nigerian Port Authority for enabling the infrastructural work critical to today’s event.

“Our appreciation extends to NIMASA for ensuring the security of our waterways, the Nigerian Shippers Council for fostering a competitive environment conducive to enhanced port services, and Nigerian Customs for their dedication to facilitating trade while maintaining essential security functions.

“To the Lagos State government, whose unwavering support has been instrumental in our massive infrastructure investments beyond the port area, I say a heartfelt thank you.”

Other speakers including the Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh; Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Mr. Akutah Pius Ukeyima; the Italian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Stefano De Leo and President-General, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, all showered encomiums on Grimaldi Group and PTML for deploying the vessel and for making significant investment at the port.

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