In a historic development, the long-awaited Benin Port project is finally set to become a reality as Mota Engil Africa emerges as the preferred bidder. This groundbreaking endeavor, one of the flagship projects under the leadership of Governor Godwin Obaseki in Edo State, promises to bring about significant improvements in job prospects and the lives of the Edo people.
After a rigorous evaluation process conducted over the course of one week, Greg Ogbeifun, the chairman of the Benin Port Project, confirmed the selection of Mota Engil Africa. The bidding process included three pre-qualified bidders: China Harbour Engineering Company (China), Mota-Engil Africa (Portugal), and Yilport Holding Inc (Turkey).
Mota Engil Africa’s recent acquisition of equipment worth $200 million, coupled with their ongoing involvement in the Kano-Maradi rail project for the Federal Government, demonstrates their capacity to undertake large-scale infrastructure projects successfully.
The construction of the Benin Port has been marred by numerous setbacks over the past 75 years, including regulatory, funding, and institutional challenges that had impeded previous attempts to kickstart the project.
Governor Obaseki, who made a promise to build the port during his 2016 election campaign, has been unwavering in his commitment to realizing this transformative vision. Despite navigating an extremely complex maze of regulatory and institutional hurdles, his determination has ultimately paved the way for the project’s commencement.
In his New Year address in 2017, Governor Obaseki announced the formation of a seven-member committee, led by Greg Ero, tasked with spearheading the development of the port project. This committee was later succeeded by the Ogbeifun-led Benin Port project team, which is currently overseeing the initiative.
Governor Obaseki expressed his delight at the success of the bidding process, emphasizing that the project’s commencement will serve as a launchpad for the expansion of Edo State’s $11.8 billion economy. He firmly believes that the Benin Port will catalyze growth in sectors such as agriculture, real estate, manufacturing, food processing, automotive, power, retail, and extractive industries, thereby creating a multitude of job opportunities for the people of Edo State and Nigerians in general.
The establishment of the Benin Port, designed to accommodate 300,000 Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs), will reactivate pre-colonial trade routes through the Benin and Osse Rivers. These rivers hold historical significance as the very channels through which the Portuguese first established contact with the Benin Kingdom in 1472 AD.
Under the vision of the Obaseki-led government, the Benin Port will be more than just a transportation hub. It is set to become a unique agro-based port in Nigeria, complete with a smart port community complex for industrial processing and export of agricultural produce and other goods. The port will also incorporate independent, clean, and renewable energy installations to ensure sustainable operations.
The container and multipurpose terminals of the port will feature Roll-on/Roll-off (RoRo) facilities, enabling the direct importation of vehicles. This development will bolster the thriving automobile industry in Edo State and foster other commercial activities, opening up new avenues for economic growth and prosperity.
The realization of the Benin Port project not only signifies the immense potential for economic development but also holds the promise of improved livelihoods for the people of Edo State. The construction phase of the port will generate a substantial number of jobs across various sectors, providing employment opportunities for skilled and unskilled labor. Furthermore, once the port becomes operational, it will create a ripple effect, stimulating ancillary industries and supporting local businesses, thus enhancing job prospects and improving the lives of the Edo people.
Chairman Ogbeifun expressed his heartfelt appreciation to the members of the evaluation team for their dedication, professionalism, and transparency throughout the bidding process. As the concession award process continues, he looks forward to further collaboration, ensuring the successful implementation of the Benin Port project.
With Mota Engil Africa poised to spearhead the construction of the Benin Port, this transformative project represents a significant milestone in Edo State’s development. Its successful execution will not only drive economic growth but also enhance employment opportunities and uplift the lives of the Edo people, positioning the state as a hub of trade and commerce in the region.