The government has collaborated with a private firm, Westron Properties, an engineering and maritime investment company, to develop a seaport in Ijegun, near Satellite Town, with the aim of absorbing up to 50 per cent of the traffic at Apapa port.
The development of Ijegun port city commenced in the 1990s with massive dredging and reclaiming of the swamp around the Satellite Town area, according to the Chairman, Westron Properties, Chief George Igboegun.
He said with greater corporation from the government, the port city which currently absorbs 25 per cent of the Apapa traffic would absorb 50 per cent of the traffic.
He said the city had recently welcomed a one-kilometre road, bridge and water channel due for inauguration by the Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa.
He said, “The demand for port facilities in the ever-growing city of Lagos has seen an exponential growth in the last few years. The resultant effect is that even the addition of Tin Can Island port could still not meet this demand.
“This has led to the chaos Apapa has turned into, with the nation losing tonnes of money on daily basis. Effort by the government to ease the pain of Apapa has not yielded the desired result.”
The Westron Properties chairman, who said his firm started business with fishing trawlers, but encountered challenge with delays at the Apapa port , noted that the issue of requisite infrastructure for the new city had been a recurring problem over a long period.
He recalled that with the delays at Apapa port coupled with gridlock, Westron fishing trawlers could not find adequate berthing facilities in Lagos, the main market for its products.
He said while searching for solution to the problem, the firm discovered the swampy and natural Ijegun harbour and decided to explore its maritime potential in collaboration with the government.
Igboegun said various parties and companies with interest in the new city, mostly under the umbrella of the Ijegun Tank Farm Association, had over time been making their individual contributions towards the development of infrastructure in Ijegun.
The current market value of Ijegun port city according to the Westron Properties boss, is $30m while the firm spent over $13m developing it.
He said, “The new bridge and road represent some of our contributions towards bridging this infrastructural gap in the new city. It is our hope that with the combined effort of both the private and public sectors, the city will see further growth, making significant contributions towards relieving the Apapa problem.
“It is projected that our present additional development in the area, will see a further growth of 30 per cent in this new city.”
He said the establishment of Ijegun port city had brought rapid development and increased the overall storage capacity for petroleum products, thus reducing the shortage of the products.
He said about 60 per cent of Nigeria’s petroleum products were housed in Ijegun, adding that there were currently 12 tank farms in Ijegun, holding a storage capacity of about 600,000,000 litres.