Nigeria breaks through trade bottlenecks with BRI

By WANG XIAODONG in Lagos, Nigeria | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-10-16 09:38
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Editor's note: This year marks the 10th anniversary of the launch of the Belt and Road Initiative. A decade of practice has demonstrated that it's a broad and prosperous way for China and the world to share opportunities and seek common development. In a more than 10-part series, China Daily finds out how the road of peace, prosperity, openness, green development, innovation and civilization will contribute more to the shared future of mankind.

Iconic infrastructure projects under China-proposed initiative spur development in West Africa's biggest country

For Shi Gang, general manager of a cosmetics company in Lagos, Nigeria, shipping of goods used to be a constant problem for his business in West Africa's biggest country.

He relies on raw materials imported from China's Jiangsu province to produce cosmetics and skincare products, but when the goods arrived at the Apapa Port, once the biggest seaport in Nigeria, he pinned his hopes on luck.

"The port is constantly congested and trucks would wait in long lines to get cargo unloaded from ships," said Shi, from Colori Cosmetics FZE. "It may take up to one month for the goods to be transported out of the port to our factory, which is just 40 kilometers away."

Since April, when the new Lekki Deep Sea Port became operational, things became easier for Shi and others like him in Nigeria who rely on shipping for their business.

In May, Shi's 10 containers were cleared and unloaded within seven days of their arrival at the port. This also saved him a lot of money, as he did not have to pay additional charges if the cargo left the port within 14 days.

The Lekki Deep Sea Port is bringing real benefits to Nigerians. OTIATO OPALI/CHINA DAILY

The Lekki Port, a Belt and Road project in West Africa built by China Harbour Engineering Company, will be able to handle 1.2 million containers every year once it reaches full capacity. It will increase the country's container-handling capacity by up to 80 percent, making it by far the largest seaport in Nigeria.

Previously, the country relied on two old ports, including the Apapa Port, for international trade. The new port is expected to ease bottlenecks in the country's international trade and spur its economic development over the next decades, according to Du Ruogang, from China Harbour Engineering Company, who is in charge of the project.

The port will also help generate a number of jobs and contribute to poverty eradication, and it is expected that a profit of $361 billion will be generated over the next 45 years because of the port, according to the Nigerian government.

Since China proposed the Belt and Road Initiative 10 years ago, a large number of major infrastructure projects, including roads, railways, airports and seaports, have been completed across Africa and many other countries.

In Nigeria, major projects completed in recent years have facilitated social and economic transformation.

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