With the continuous congestion in Lagos seaports and needs to expand port facilities with deep seaports across the country that will be viable, decongest Lagos ports and increase commercial activities across Nigeria, experts in the shipping sector are calling for the speedily construction of the Olokola Deep Seaport in Ondo State.
Informed views are favouring the proposed Olokola Deep Seaport, Ondo State as a more strategic alternative to the cancelled Badagry Deep Seaport.
Top stakeholder in the Nigerian shipping sector and Managing Director of Victory Energy Resources Limited, Otunba Sola Olatunji has said that once the Olokola Deep Seaport comes on stream, aside from the huge investment opportunities it will offer, it will also create not less that a million jobs.
Otunba Olatunji, who spoke with our correspondent recently in Lagos, said the project would be a major catalyst to the economy that a parts from the direct and indirect jobs it will create it would earn the country over $9 billion annually.
It will be recalled that the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) recently cancelled the proposed Badagry Deep Seaport over alleged discrepancies in the consultant report, but those in the know said a major issue is the gridlock in Lagos which citing of the deep seaport at Lekki and Badagry will definitely compound.
According to Otunba Olatunji, another selling point for the Olokola Deep Seaport apart from its taking away the Lagos gridlock is its over nine meters natural draught.
He said: “Deep Seaport business is all about logistics. I just mentioned to you that out of about 20 vessels that come to West Africa daily, 17 come to Nigeria.
“If this port is realized, all those vessels will come here (Olokola) for their maintenance, bunker and groceries. Do you know the implication? Do you know how much that will be accruable to Nigeria daily from that? Do you know what only Chandelling activities to these vessels will do to this economy? We are talking of transactions that are all done in foreign exchange,” he said.
He further said that the Olokola River has the longest coast and deepest draught in Nigeria hence will be able to take bigger vessels that cannot berth in Lagos and other River Ports in Nigeria.
He maintained that many ancillary services attached to the shipping will help to generate more jobs for the people as well as attract investors into the country.
“So, you will now see new businesses thriving, new markets emerging because sailors will come out from the ships to go and buy things.
“Boat operators, ancillary service providers will come and investor will put money in the business,” he stressed.
He however suggested that the proposed sea port be run on a Private and Public Partnership (PPP) model.