The promoters of the Ibom Deep Seaport (IDS) have made public their plan to get developers and operator for the execution of the multi-billion naira project.
Expected to generate thousands of direct and indirect employment in the pre-construction, construction and post-construction stages, the promoters of the IDS said the procurement process will kick off this month with the advertisement of the request for qualification (RFQ) from reputable private sector port developers and operators.
The selected developers and operators are expected to develop the IDS in partnership with the Akwa Ibom State Government and the Federal Government of Nigeria.
While Global Maritime and Port Services Pte Limited (GMAPS) of Singapore is the Transaction Advisor, PwC, Nigeria, is the Project Manager of the project.
In a statement made available to THISDAY, the promoters said the Federal Government and the Akwa Ibom State Government have reached a critical milestone in the implementation of the IDS project.
“The IDS is arguably one of the most promising Public Private Partnership (PPP) infrastructure initiatives in Africa because of the unique and unparalleled investment opportunities it offers international seaport developers, operators, investors as well as its potential for driving inclusive economic growth in Nigeria and the West and Central African sub-region. Strategically located in the South East of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, the approximate coordinates of the IDS scaled from the British Admiralty Chart Number 1387.
“The 2,565 hectares Greenfield port area is designed for New Panamax Class vessels with channel (18.24m); turning basin and berth depth (16.72m) and quay length of about 7.5 kilometres. When fully developed, the container terminals will be able to accommodate up to 13 New Panamax Class container vessels and two very large feeder vessels”, the statement added.
According to the promoters, the IDS is positioned to offer a value proposition superior to other seaports in the region. Available data indicates that the various seaports currently serving the West and Central African sub-region are reaching saturation and the need for viable alternatives has become critical for major shipping lines sailing these routes.
They stated that with limited land to expand the existing seaports in Lagos and the inhibiting conditions against the development or expansion of other ports in neighbouring countries, the IDS offers an ultra-modern deep seaport with modern cargo handling equipment, facilities and systems that can address the capacity challenges constraining other seaports across the region.
Enumerating other benefits of the project, the promoters said: “The Greenfield site has substantial land available for future expansion. Due to its proximity to target markets in West and Central Africa, neighbouring hinterland countries and major shipping lines calling West/Central Africa, large gateway market size to attract direct vessel services and sizeable transhipment cargo hinterland for feeder shipping network connection, as well as its capacity to handle post and New Panamax vessels at its specialized terminals, the IDS is in an enviable position to emerge as the first major transhipment hub for the region. The transhipment container market for the IDSP is estimated to grow from about 1.2 million TEUs in 2021 to about 4 million TEUs in 2040”.
They stated that another defining feature of the IDS is its location within the Ibom Industrial City (IIC), a designated Free Trade Zone (FTZ) replete with fiscal incentives.
They explained that the FTZ status ensures that operations and investors in the deep seaport enjoy special regulatory/fiscal incentive regimes including tax waivers and ease of repatriation of capital/investment proceeds that enhance competitiveness and allow for cost saving with corresponding opportunities for investors to maximize returns on their investments.
“The project will optimize the synergies of the other businesses to be situated within the industrial city that is being developed in parallel such as agriculture, oil and gas, petrochemicals, marine-related industries, auto assembly plants, power plants, as well as real estate developments. This is besides the existing power plant and the industrial development at Ikot Abasi. It is within close proximity to Eket and Oron, among the largest urban developments in the state and oil and gas assets”, they added.