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China-France-Nigeria tripartite project starts operations

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Nigeria received the largest container vessel to ever dock in the country, marking a new chapter in the African nation’s maritime sector.

The CMA CGM Scandola, a liquefied natural gas-powered 14,812 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) container vessel, berthed at the Lekki deep seaport in Nigeria’s southwestern state of Lagos Monday afternoon. Lekki Port is Nigeria’s deepest seaport and was built by China Harbor Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC).

“It is something that we truly, really need to roll out drums and be proud of because what that is about, indeed, is that we are putting the Lekki freeport, Lagos state and Nigeria into the world’s global logistics marine business,” said Lagos Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu while welcoming the gigantic vessel.

The Lekki port is a commercial cooperation project between China, France and Nigeria. Constructed by CHEC, it stands as Nigeria’s first deep seaport and one of the largest in West Africa. The construction, initiated in June 2020, was completed in October 2022. The port began commercial operations in April 2023, with a design capacity to handle 1.2 million standard containers annually.

Yan Yuqing, the Chinese consul general in Lagos, said that the docking of the vessel “has marked a new beginning in Nigeria’s shipping sector” by promoting import and export, noting that the development represents one of the landmark achievements of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative.

The arrival of the CMA CGM Scandola marked a significant step forward for maritime trade in Nigeria, emphasizing the nation’s commitment to embracing cutting-edge technologies and sustainable practices, said Laurent Favier, the French consul general in Lagos.

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