By Steve Agbota
Mercury Maritime Concession Company Limited (MMCC) and Port of Antwerp are collaborating to build the proposed $2.9 billion Escravos Seaport Industrial Complex (ESIC), to boost economic and national development of the nation, particularly, Delta State.
Speaking at a briefing in Lagos at the Sailing Club exhibition race 2021, the Chairman of MMCC, Rear Admiral Andrews Okoja (rtd), said that the Escravos seaport, which would be on 20,000 hectares of land, comprises deep seaport, international airport, Free Trade Zone, crude oil refinery and gas complex, an estate and recreational components.
He stated: “When we got our provisional approval, one of the first things we are supposed to do is to put together a team of consultant financiers and partners. And one of the partners that played a major role in the seaport complex project is the Escravos Seaport project, actually it is a deep seaport project.
“They have visited us and signed a partnership paper agreement with us on this project. They came to Lagos and they have other programmes with Delta State. And we intend to continue our relationship with Port of Antwerp International on this particular project.”
According to him, the engine that drives the Escravos Seaport Complex project is the intricate relationship between maritime, economy and national development, adding that the project is in two-phase, which is known as ESIC 1 and ESIC 2.
He explained that ESIC 1 is the seaport complex, which is the backbone of the project while the ESIC2 would open up the waterway transportation from Escravos Seaport into the hinterland via River Niger and Benue and other regions such as Onitsha, Lokoja, Makurdi and others.
However, he said that MMCC is working with the Lagos State Government to develop the Snake Island into an industrial estate. He said all protocols and everything on the project have been completed while waiting for the State Government to pass the project through its Executive Council of the Governor.
Meanwhile, the Managing Director of Port of Antwerp, Kristof Watershoot, said: “At Antwerp Port International, we are very convinced in the general potential future of the whole region especially for Nigeria, we are convinced in the future of new port project in this country.
“As we met with the team of MMCC on several occasions, we will start working together with the team on further developing the Escravos Seaport project together with other partners and there are a lot of them available.
“On our side, it will be a step by step approach. We start collaboration on the partner side and we signed the collaboration. As you know, this kind of project, have a lot of steps to take and step by step, we need to see how the team can further grow and how we can help in making the project realised,” he said.
Daily Sun learnt that the Escravos Seaport is conceptualised as a modern deep seaport that will handle container Ro-Ro vessels, specialised cargo and general cargo.