An indigenous firm, Genesis Worldwide Shipping Company, has advanced on the development of the $450 million Tomato Industrial Free Zone in Lagos, with expectations that the facility would aid fuel supply and bring the national dream of shipbuilding to reality.
Chairman, Genesis Shipping and Integrated Oil and Gas Company,Captain Emmanuel Iheanacho, while taking officials of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) led by Darki Hadia Yakubu round the Island, said the facility would have a shipbuilding yard with a sleep way to build and maintain ships of over 10,000 deadweight tonnage (dwt).“Nigeria has for a long time wanted to be a builder of ships; now we making this a reality. The jetty for berthing and loading vessels will be ready in nine months,” he said.
Iheanacho, whose firm had earlier secured a grant of $1 million from the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) to facilitate market study for the detailed engineering master plan of the island, said the Island would also host a 20,000 barrels per day modular refinery and over 30 fuel storage tanks with about 500 million liters capacity.
He said with such facility the nation could get 15 days uninterrupted supply of petroleum products. Already, the company has completed the erection of the base park, which serves as office complex, while the base for the tank farms are being completed with more under construction. Iheanacho said the tank farms are special and structured in such a way that they supply to ships and pump back from ships into tank farms located around the Island.
“This tank farm is different from every other tank farm that relies on arrangement where ships supply tank farms and then lorries come and pick up the supply, but because we are located on an Island and because of the function that they are designed for, we supply by ship then actually pump back by ship to the tank farms that are located to the West,” he explained.He stated further that the company would start erecting more structures in the next few months to accommodate all government agencies on the Island.
The Tomaro Industrial Park, which was last year granted Free Trade Zone status is expected to generate 2,000 direct jobs on completion.Iheanacho identified a number of businesses that are being planned at the free trade zone, which will add a lot of value to the national economy in terms of industrialization, employment and revenue generation.
The entire project, which is estimated at $450 million, includes a ship fabrication yard, a modular refinery, access slipway, oil storage tank farms, water treatment plant, power generation plant, container laydown/transit, and crude oil distillation unit, fire station, and a heliport and helicopter service facilities and five star hotel among others.
The free port zone is 75 hectares of land in between the Snake Island and the Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base (LADOL), which are also enjoying free trade zone status.According to him, some Chinese and British investors have shown interest in investing in the free trade zone project.