‘Olokola Deep Seaport ‘ll earn $9b annually, create 1m jobs’

With the cancellation of the Badagry Deep Seaport project, attention seems to have shifted to the proposed Olokola Deep Seaport in Ondo State.

A top stakeholder in the shipping sector and Victory Energy Resources Limited Managing Director, Otunba Sola Olatunji, said about one million jobs would be created once the Olokola Deep Seaport comes on stream.

Olatunji, who disclosed this in a chat in Lagos, said the project would be a major catalyst to the economy, such that the direct and indirect jobs to be created would be in excess of one million. He added that about $9 billion would be earned annually.

According to Olatunji, another selling point for the seaport, apart from helping to remove 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 realised, 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 added 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 noted that many ancillary services attached to 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, suggesting that the proposed seaport be run on a Private and Public Partnership (PPP) model.

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 the citing of the deep seaport at Lekki and Badagry would create.