Dr. Amy Jadesimi, managing director/CEO, Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base [LADOL], heads a company that has turned a disused swamp inside Apapa Port into the first and largest industrial free zone in Nigeria. The zone is a strategic development, attracting foreign investment and creating about 10 jobs outside the zone for every one job created inside it.
LADOL is a one-stop-shop in a secure industrial village designed for multinational companies operating high value projects. The project runs on the wheels of Jadesimi’s passion to develop strategic infrastructure that will enable African countries become leading global economies.
It was a great feat accomplished for Jadesimi in 2018 when a-$3.8 billion floating production storage and offloading – Egina FPSO sailed into the country. LADOL is the local content partner in the massive project that produced one of the most valuable vessels in the world and the first-of-its-kind in sub-Saharan Africa.
The company fabricated six of the 18 top sides with the giant module that sits on top of the Total FPSO vessel. This, it accomplished within a short period of time within which it also had to first build the shipyard in LADOL. The vessel is ranked the largest FPSO in the world, measuring 70 metres wide and 380 metres long – the size of about three football pitches.
It is a great score for Nigeria’s local content aspiration and a proof that local content capacity development is achievable Jadesimi said. The ability to receive the vessel has demonstrated Nigeria’s crane capacity as the biggest in Africa, she added.
The achievement is a motivating factor for LADOL’s chief executive to continue to invest in ground breaking development projects even beyond Egina and beyond Nigeria. It has placed Nigeria on the threshold of sustainable industrial revolution, she said.
LADOL stands out to meet local demand for any form and size of fabrication. It has built the capacity to assemble and integrate locally any components in manufacture – sailing vessels, flying planes or running trains. This has launched Nigeria into a new era where there is no longer any need to send locally made components outside the country to become part of a final product. “The real significance of the Egina FPSO coming in is that it proves that you can handle the most complex industrial project in Nigeria”, Jadesimi said.
She expects that the new capacity would dramatically increase local demands for fabrication engineering that would give birth to 50,000 direct and indirect jobs. She sees one big capacity job created in LADOL spreading new job opportunities across the many fabrication engineering yards in Nigeria. Looking ahead, she sees many fabrication yards springing up to meet growing demands from within and outside the country.
For Nigeria to develop the capacity to build an entire vessel like the Egina FPSO, thousands of companies will still need to set up and millions of people will have to be engaged on different jobs across many engineering yards. LADOL’s CEO is pressing for a thriving environment to make this possible. She is looking forward to a situation where a contractor that wants to deliver a vessel anywhere in the world would come down to Nigeria and have a number companies in the business to choose from. This will change the situation at the moment where only a few foreign companies are available even for projects meant for Nigeria.
LADOL is on a mission to make Nigeria the hub for Africa. Given the large shipyard and the highest lifting capacity in Africa, the company is positioned to attract manufacturing engineering projects from neighbouring countries. According to Jadesimi, only a large internal market like Nigeria’s can justify the type of investment that LADOL is making. This, she said, has positioned the country as a regional hub for high-value, massive industrial projects that the Nigerian market can cope with.
The next milestone for LADOL is additional infrastructure development within the free zone. The projects include the construction of a gas-fired generating plant, roads and storage facilities. The company is also putting up processing and cold storage facilities needed to enhance exports of agricultural produce.
Export of some agricultural products such as yam and cashew nuts have suffered for lack of proper storage facilities. LADOL is betting to put that problem behind the nation with the type of facilities it is putting in place.
The business model of the free zone is based on a range of industries within and outside oil and gas. Other sectors outside of oil and gas include the railway, aviation, agriculture and technology. Jadesimi is quite confident that with a shipyard in place, LADOL is equipped to participate in all of the targeted sectors.
She is looking at a different area for the next breakthrough project, which is likely to be in developing alternative sources of energy with specific interest in waste to power and solar energy solutions. Waste-to-power solution projects are presently underway – which will turn wastes from the free zone and from waterways into waste energy. “Hopefully, the next award we get will be in that area” she said.
Jadesimi has a big dream to place LADOL on the path to make Nigeria the hub of Africa in the next five years. By then, she said, the free zone will look different with a wide range of different sectors represented and a sustainable power solution in place.