The proposed $2.9bn Escravos Seaport Industrial Complex (ESIC-1), is majorly designed to boost economic/national development of Nigeria would be ready in 2024, can now authoritatively tell.

Mercury Maritime Concession Company (MMCC), specialists in maritime-related infrastructure development and the drivers of the project on Tuesday said it has concluded plans to deliver a multi-billion dollar project between 2024 and 2025.

The Chairman of the company, Rear Admiral Andrew Okoja(Rtd.), who spoke to journalists in Lagos during the World Hydrography Day 2022 celebration,  said that the Build, Operate and Own and Transfer (BOOT) Model of the $50 billion project comprises of a deep seaport, a gas plant, a nature park and an Airport, which would be built on a 31,000 hectares of land in Gbaramatu Delta State.

He words: “We are a privately-driven company and the project we are doing is a multi-billion deep seaport project, like the Lagos Deep Seaport Project.

“Our Escravos Seaport Industrial Project comprises of a deep seaport and several other mega projects; there is a refinery, a gas plant, there is a Free trade Zone, there is a nature park and an Airport as well.

“The contract sum is about $50billion, and we have just started with the deep seaport and the connectivity now.

“This Port is on a Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) basis like the Lagos Deep Seaport, and the estimated time of delivering the port is between 2024 and 2025.

“This project is MMCC-driven and we have about 25 foreign and local consultants and partners running on this project. It is being put together by the Port of Antwerp International, the second-largest port in Europe; apart from Rotterdam Port.”

Speaking on the project plan in phases, Okoja disclosed that at every time, the value of the port would be determined by the volume of cargo flow, and that the strength of connectivity that the company has concluded serves a good working foundation for the project.

His words: “The value of the Port itself is determined by the volume of cargo flow, and this because we have taken care of marine connectivity, rail connectivity and road connectivity. Because of its size, it is going to capture about 70 per cent geographical spread of all over the country.

“From the port, for instance, the marine connectivity goes from Escravos port to the River Niger and up to Onitsha. From Onitsha, the second phase goes up to Lokoja. The first phase is going to be about 350km; from the port to Onitsha, then from Onitsha to Lokoja it is about 200km.

The MMCC Chairman also disclosed that the company has signed an Memorandum of Understanding MoU with Suez Canal Authority of Egypt, and that they would be the ones to open the project.

He added that: “This connectivity is going to be concessioned and it is being discussed with the Ministry of Transport; concession for between 50 and 75 years.”

On the second connectivity, which is the rail connectivity; Okoja it would connect the Port to Warri and from Warri it would go up to Itakpe , Ajaokuta.

He, however added that the company would be taking the Escravos Port to Warri segment, which is about 47 km , and that it is also concessioned and would be an electric train; the first electric train in Nigeria.

To operate the electric train, the company would be generating about 2000megawatts power, Okoja said.

The third phase, according to the MMCC Chairman, is a direct route from Escravos sea port to join the Warri-Sapele Road, around the Koko junction.

He added that: “We are also concessioning for another 50 years and we are going to be tolling. With this, we have the flow of cargo going in and out and we estimate covering 70 per cent geographical spread.

“So any cargo coming by land and air would flow in. And the value of a port is determined by the flow, how busy it is.

“We have gotten the provisional approval from the Federal Government to build the port, which is why we mobilised all these contractors.”

It is expected that on completion and take-off of the project, the Lagos ports would be decongested, while thousands of jobs would be created in the sector.

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