History of Nigerian Ports Authority

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The history of port development in Nigeria dates back to the middle of 19th century. This was long after the onset of sea borne trade and transactions which followed the adventures of early explorations on the African coasts. Initial efforts towards provision of facilities for ocean going vessels were the attempts to open up the entrance to the Lagos Lagoon. Considerable littoral drift occurred along this coast; and the constantly shifting channels in the bar at the entrance made entry very difficult.

On February 1, 1914, the first mail-steamer S/S ‘AKOKO’ drawing 5.64 metres entered the Lagos harbour. Two months later, vessels began to use the facilities provided at the Customs wharf on Lagos Island.

Prior to this time, explorative and trade activities involving European missionaries and businessmen in Africa made the existence of a port on the wide coastal stretch from Calabar to Lagos imperative. Specifically, in the 15th century the Europeans opened marine contract and discovered the rich natural resources in the West and Central African region that were needed for their economic and industrial revolution. As a result, the Bight of Benin was opened up by John d’Aveiro, of Portuguese in 1485 and in 1553, Captain Wyndham of Britain landed on the nation’s coast

The first major breakthrough in opening up the Lagos Lagoon was in 1906 when orders were placed for dredgers to work at the bar. During the same year, approval was given for the construction of the first length of the East Mole. The construction of railway from Lagos to Otta and then to Abeokuta provided easy transportation of stone needed for the construction of the mole. Depths over the bar improved steadily as the entrance moles were pushed further sea words. Decision to develop Apapa Port was taken in 1913 and construction of the first four deep-water berths of 548.64 metres long at Apapa began in 1921. Twentyseven years later (1948), an additional 762 metres of...
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