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Nigeria has over 10,000 km of inland waterways. This water resource comprises rivers, creeks, lagoons and lakes, and intra-coastal water which source is two main rivers, the Niger and the Benue, both of which form a confluence at Lokoja, in Kogi State. Although the longest is the River Niger, the most used waterway, especially by the larger watercrafts, is its tributary, the Benue River, especially for commercial activities in the delta area of Cross River and all along the coast to the Lagos lagoon. 

The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) was established by the government to manage Nigeria’s inland waterways resources. NIWA issues licenses for inland navigation, piers, jetties and dockyards; surveys, examines, approves designs and the construction of inland river crafts and shipyard operators; grants permits and licenses for sand dredging and pipeline construction. 

According to statistics from NIWA, 28 of the 36 states of the Federation can be linked by water, though only about 30 percent of these vast resources, which is about 3,800km of waterways, are navigable. NIWA has established that at least 17 out of the 28 states are accessible. 

States that can be accessed either through river Niger or Benue include: Adamawa, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Delta, Edo, Gombe, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Niger, Nasarawa, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto and Taraba. 

River channels also open to five neighbouring countries on the continent – Benin Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Chad and Niger. 

Security is an issue confronting waterways’ use. Over-crowding of vessels, poor watercraft, and sunken wrecks above and below surface are among reasons for the many accidents on waterways in littoral states. 

Although there is potential for economic development, the waterways remain under-utilised and under-developed despite dredging operations in past years. As a result the inland waterways are not currently a viable alternative to road transport for inland Nigeria. 


The predominant use is for people transportation within the Lagos area and among the delta states. 

Within Lagos State, the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) under the authority of the Lagos State Government is responsible for:  

  • establishing, maintaining and regulating the operation of any type of vessels and like carriers, pilot boats, ferries, lines and regular ferry services within the waterways of Lagos state; 
  • regulating the use of internal waterways by all users including private and common carriers; 
  • entering into contracts for the maintenance, exploration, superintendence, management and transit of all state and internal waterways and terminals, platforms, piers and jetties with any other person(s), authority, company or other private operators; 
  • instigating and collecting water transportation tolls, rates and charges;  
  • clearing and maintaining Lagos State Inland waterways free from all obstructions, derelicts, wrecks and abandoned properties and installing route buoys gauges, distance boards and markings along the inland waterways of Lagos State. 

 For more information on government contact details, please see the following link: 4.1 Nigeria Government Contact List

Company Information 

TheLagos State Ferry Services Corporation (LSFSC)orLagos Ferry Services Company(also known asLAGFERRY) is the majorferryservices provider inLagos State. It is operated as a state-owned enterprise.   

Besides LAGFERRY, other private ferry operators also use modern ferry boats to provide commercial transport services betweenIkorodu,Lagos Island,ApapaandVictoria Island. 

For more information on waterway company contact details, please see the following link:4.4 Nigeria Port and Waterways Company Contact List

Passenger Carrying Capacity 

 

Sea Coach Express 

Texas Connection 

Number of 

Passenger Vessels 

< 20 Passengers 

Nil 

Nil 

Number of 

Passenger Vessels 

< 50 Passengers 

10 

4 

Number of 

Passenger Vessels 

< 100 Passengers 

Nil 

2 

Number of 

Passenger Vessels 

> 100 Passengers 

Nil 

1 

 

Passenger Carrying Capacity 

 

Sea Coach Express 

Texas Connection 

Boats 

Number of Boats 

10 

7 

Tonnage / Volume 

Carrying Capacity (MT / m3) 

N/A 

N/A 

Barges 

Number of Barges 

Nil 

Nil 

Tonnage / Volume 

Carrying Capacity (MT / m3) 

N/A 

N/A 

Tugs 

Number of Tugs 

Nil 

Nil 

Tonnage / Volume 

Carrying Capacity (MT / m3) 

N/A 

N/A 

 

Travel Time Matrix 

Travel Time within Lagos urban surroundson Passenger Vessel  (travel time in minutes) 

 

Ebuto Ero 

Ikorodu 

CMS 

Oworonshoki 

Mile 2 

Apapa 

Victoria 

Island 

Ebuto Ero 

 

40 

15 

24 

40 

20 

20 

Ikorodu 

40 

 

40 

25 

45 

40 

45 

CMS  

15 

40 

 

15 

30 

25 

10 

Oworoshonki 

25 

25 

15 

 

30 

20 

15 

Mile 2 

40 

45 

30 

30 

 

25 

50 

Apapa 

20 

40 

15 

20 

25 

 

15 

Victoria  

Island 

20 

45 

10 

15 

50 

15 

 


Current waterways transport in Nigeria in practical commercial terms is restricted to passenger transportation in the vicinity of the Lagos urban area. 

Key Routes 

Key Route Information (Domestic Only) 

 

From: CMS 

To: Apapa 

From: Apapa 

To: Ikorodu 

From: Mile 2 

To: Okoko, Iyana Oba 

Total Distance (km) 

1.5 km 

Not determined (approx.28 km by water then bus) 

Not determined (approx.25 km by water then bus) 

Width (m) 

 

 Not applicable, very wide. 

River Flow (m³ / second) 

Not determined (tidal estuary) 

Not determined (tidal estuary) 

Not determined (tidal estuary) 

Seasonal Effects 

No 

No 

No 

Maximum Weight and 

Size of Vessels 

No restriction 

No restriction 

No restriction 

Regular Traffic 

Passenger / Cargo 

Yes (passenger) 

Yes (passenger) 

Yes (passenger) 

Companies Operating 

Along the Route 

Sea coach transport 

Texas connection ferries 

Sea coach transport 

Texas connection ferries 

Local operators 

Security Concerns 

No 

No 

Possibly 

Main Ports 

CMS Jetty 

Flour mill jetty 

Flour mill jetty 

Ikorodu Jetty 

Liverpool / Mile 2 jetty 

 

Port Information 

Key Port Information 

 

CMS Jetty 

Flour mill jetty 

Ikorodu jetty 

Location 

CMS 

Flour mill, Apapa 

Ikorodu 

Contact Information 

N/A 

N/A 

N/A 

Connections with Other 

Transport Means  

Road  

Road / Railways  

Road 

 

Storage Capacity (m2 and m3) 

TBA 

TBA 

TBA 

Handling Equipment 

Nil 

Nil 

Nil 

Customs Clearance Available 

No 

No 

No 

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