Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Economic Development and Ibom Deep Sea Ports, Mr Akan Okon, has said the construction of the first phase of the Ibom Deep Seaport and Industrial City in the state would gulp $2.016bn.
He also said the phase would generate at least 300,000 jobs while over 3,500 companies were expected to be in operation in the seaport by the end of 2023.
The commissioner made these known during an interaction with journalists in Uyo on Saturday.
He said the state government would provide 40 per cent of the funding while 60 per cent would come from the preferred bidder.
“Sixty per cent of the funding will come from core investors – Bollore ChinaPower Consortium, who are the preferred bidder. They are already managing 23 ports in Africa alone. We believe that their experience and connection will attract business and more investors to the seaport,” he said.
He added that the port would commence operations before the end of the present administration in 2023 adding that the possibility of such early projected operational date was because the state government and the preferred bidder had already undertaken some technical aspects of the port development before the approval last week.
Okon said that despite the existence of other seaports in the Niger Delta area, the natural depth of Ibom Deep Seaport would offer more benefits to businesses as it could serve as a clearing point for bigger vessels.
He said, “The advantage of the Ibom Deep Seaport is in its natural location. For instance, the Lagos Port in terms of draft after dredging is just about 12m; so very large vessels can’t come there. They have to wait at the high sea and need smaller vessels to bring cargo to port but with Ibom Seaport big vessels can come in even without dredging.
“It has a depth of 18m without dredging and has a turning basin of 600m and designed for vessels that can carry 120,000 Dead Weight Tonnage and will have 10 terminals.”
He added, “It can actually allow for another vessel to come in without waiting for the first vessel to be discharged. So, it is actually wide. It can allow one big vessel to go in and another one to come in at the same time.
“It is also designed to be a trans shipping port. In other words, goods meant for neighbouring African countries can be transshipped from here using smaller vessels.”