High hope as Federal Govt is set to kick-start Ibom Port
The Federal and the Akwa Ibom State governments are
set to execute the Ibom Deep Seaport (IDSP) project, an official has said.
The project, it was gathered, is one of the most promising Public- Private Partnership (PPP) infrastructure initiatives in the country because of the unique investment opportunities it will offer international seaport developers and operators.
A senior official of the Federal Ministry of Transportation (FMoT), who craved for anonymity, told The Nation at the weekend that the port could drive inclusive economic growth in Nigeria and the West and Central African sub-region.
The procurement process for the port, the official said, is scheduled to take off this month, with the advertisement of the Request for Qualification (RFQ) from reputable private sector port operators for developing the deep seaport in partnership with the Akwa Ibom State and the Federal governments.
The official said: “ The port strategically located in the Southeast of Akwa Ibom State, the approximate coordinates of the port scaled from the British Admiralty Chart No. 1387 are Latitude 4° 32’ 35’’ N; Longitude 8° 14’ 7’’ E and UTM coordinates 415168 m E; 502,199 m N (UTM Zone 32N). The 2,565 hectares Greenfield port area is designed for New Panamax Class vessels with 18.24mchannel; turning basin and berth depth (16.72m) and quay length of about 7.5 km. When fully developed, the container terminals will accommodate up to 13 New Panamax Class container vessels and two very large feeder vessels.
“The IDSP is positioned to offer a value proposition superior to other seaports in the region.Available data indicate that the various seaports serving the West and Central African sub-region are reaching saturation and the need for viable alternatives has become critical for major shipping lines sailing these routes.
“Due to its proximity to target markets in West and Central Africa, neighbouring hinterland countries and major shipping lines calling West and Central Africa, large gateway market size to attract direct vessel services and sizeable transshipment cargo hinterland for feeder shipping network connection. The transshipment container market for the port is estimated to grow from about 1.2 million TEUs in 2021 to about 4 million TEUs in 2040.’’
The official continued: “Another defining feature of the port is its location within the Ibom Industrial City – a designated Free Trade Zone replete with fiscal incentives. The Free Trade Zone status ensures that operations and investors in the deep seaport enjoy special regulatoryand fiscal incentive regimes that will enhance competitiveness and allow for cost saving.
“The project will optimise the synergies of the other businesses to be situated within the industrial city that is being developed in parallel (such as agriculture, oil and gas, petrochemicals, marine-related industries, auto assembly plants, power plants, as well as real estate developments), and power plant and the industrial development at Ikot Abasi.
“With the prevailing gap in functional seaports in West Africa coupled with the demonstrated commitment of both the Federal and the Akwa Ibom State governments to create an enabling environment for private sector investors to exploit the opportunities in the industry, the Ibom Deep Seaport presents a compelling investment case that cannot be ignored by investors.
“The procurement process for the IDSP Project is scheduled to commence this month with the advertisement of the Request for Qualification (RFQ) from reputable private sector port developer/operators for the development of the Deep Seaport in partnership with the Akwa Ibom State Government and the Federal Government,” the official said.
Global Maritime and Port Services Pte Ltd (GMAPS) of Singapore, the civil servant said, is the Transaction Advisor while the PwC, Nigeria, is the Project Manager for the project.