The Federal Government has flagged off the haulage of cargo from the Lagos Port Complex in Apapa, Lagos State to the Ibadan Dry Inland Container Port in Moniya, Ibadan, Oyo State.
The Minister of Transportation, Sen. Saidu Alkali, who embarked on his inaugural official tour of the Lagos-Ibadan rail, flagged-off the first cargo movement through the rail corridor on behalf of the Federal Government.
Speaking on the occasion, Alkali disclosed that 3 coaches of 30 wagons shall be loaded daily from the Apapa Ports to Ibadan as part of Government’s effort to decongest the Ports, save Shippers from accumulation of demurrages while also facilitating seamless operations at the Lagos ports.
Furthermore , efforts to decongest the ports are still ongoing as the Minister revealed plans to rehabilitate the Lagos to Kano narrow gauge stating that by the time this section is finished, the issue of decongesting the Lagos ports, providing alternative modes of transportation and providing sustainable and cost effective means of transportation would have been addressed to a certain extent.
Furthermore, he stated that the haulage of cargo from the Ports would commence on one track, as completion of the other two tracks leading into the Port is being hindered by the Nigerian Customs scanning Centre. He however assured on efforts to liaise with the Minister of Finance and the Nigerian Customs Service to suggest relocation of the scanning centre.
On the issue of the sustainability of the railway sector in the country, the Minister said ,we are going to ensure that the existing contracts are executed and it is the vision of the administration to ensure that the transport sector is enhanced especially with the removal of the fuel subsidy that will make the cost of transportation much secure and cost effective.
The Hon Minister also inspected Kajola Wagon Assembly Plant which is the first in West Africa built by the China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility to the country is meant to create employment for more than 500 youths.
In his remarks, the Managing Director, Nigeria Railway Corporation, Engr. Fidet Okhiria said the Corporation was operating rail freight service on the Lagos-Kano with the narrow gauge but stopped due activities of vandals.
He however assured that the NRC has about 120 narrow gauge wagons and has also placed more orders through the China Civil Engineering Construction Company to adequately support government’s efforts to support trade and decongest the ports.
Henshaw Ogubike mnipr
Director (Press & PR)