Mercury Maritime Concession Company (MMCC) has revealed plans to set up a $2.9 billion Escravos Seaport Industrial Complex (ESIC) in Delta State in partnership with the Port of Antwerp international.

While speaking to newsmen about the project at the Navy Sailing Club in Lagos, the Chairman, MMCC, Andrew Okoja, explained that the $2.9 billion Escravos Seaport Industrial Complex (ESIC) project consists of the deep seaport, free trade zone in three major layouts, oil and gas free trade zone and industrial layouts. Other components are independent power plants (IPP), golf course, development of prime infrastructure, new towns and cities and an international airport.

He stated that the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) driven project entered into by the Federal Government, Delta State government and the MMCC with some technical partners, which would be funded by a United Nations-affiliated group based in Switzerland, would create over 72, 000 jobs for Nigerians.

Okoja said the project would be developed in partnership with the Port of Antwerp International, as a marine infrastructure developer, while James Cubic Architect, an expatriate company, would handle the land infrastructure component of the project.

“What moves the economy of any country is the resources. The engine that drives this particular project is what we offer; the nexus, the intricate relationship between the maritime, economy and national development and they generate wealth,” he said.

According to Okoja, provisional approval to develop the Escravos Seaport Industrial Estate project in Delta state has been granted to the company, while the Nigerian Navy has given its approval for the Hydrographic Department of the Navy to work on the project.

The MMC boss Okoja added that the project would be delivered in phases, which would include opening up of the waterways from Escravos via river Niger and Benue.

According to him, the first phase of the Escravos Seaport Industrial Complex II (ESIC2) would open up the water channels along Escravos – Pantami – Onitsha, while phase two of the channelization will be from Onitsha – Lokoja – Baro, and Onitsha – Lokoja – Markurdi.

The MMCC chairman equally disclosed that there was an existing agreement with the Lagos state government to develop the Snake Island into Creek Industrial Estate (CIE).

The Managing Director, Port of Antwerp International, Kristof Waterschoot, said given the economic evolution of Nigeria, the need to develop newer ports to accommodate the growth potentials of the country was necessary to grow the volume of trade and economic outlook.

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