The Kaduna Inland Dry Port commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday is a N5billion investment with the capacity to handle 29,000 tonnes of containers yearly, LEADERSHIP Sunday has gathered.
It was gathered that the port, and its 4,000 square meters capacity warehouse, also handles every kind of import and export demand, with the facility set aside to encourage farmers, especially from the northern states and other neighbouring countries, to export their agricultural products.
Speaking exclusively to LEADERSHIP Sunday, the Kaduna Inland Dry Port manager, Mr Rotimi Raimi, explained that what had now become a port was formerly inland container depots (ICDS) or a Container Freight Station (CFS), inland intermodals directly connected by road, rail and air to a sea port and operating as a centre for trans-shipment of sea cargo to inland destinations.
He said the federal government upgraded the inland container destination to a dry port, adding that before the upgrade, some requirement had to be met which took eight years.
“Last year June 3 was the date the contractor handed over the structure of the port to us,” he said. “We are doing everything here: import from every part of the world and exporting them from here. Like vehicle clearing, we are doing them here. People don’t need to go to Lagos When they want to import cars, they should do it directly from Kaduna here and they get it cleared here at Kaduna Inland Dry Port,” Rotimi said.
According to him, the general cargo activities being carried out in Lagos seaport are also taking place in Kaduna.
“What we will advise the importers is that they should adhere to the federal government’s guidelines on importation. Any importer or exporter that does not know what to do, that is why the port is here. They should come to us; we are going to enlighten them with all the processes so that they can be guided accordingly.
“We are expanding, and in the next five years it’s going to create a lot of employment. The employment rate, both direct and indirect, will be multiplying on a yearly basis.
“I have been saying this: when you remove Murtala Mohammed International Airport and the seaport in Lagos, the state is nothing. That was why the Kaduna State government ensured that the project became operational,” he stated.
A source said the Kaduna Inland Dry Port is a N5billion investment at present, and that the port will keep developing and growing.
“The port here is worth more than N5billion. So, the port is still developing on a daily basis. We will keep introducing new things at the port,” one of the stakeholders who does not want to be named said.
The chairman of the Kaduna Inland Dry Port, Mr Tope Borishade, told LEADERSHIP Sunday that the Kaduna Inland Dry Port was gazetted on May 26, 2015, by the federal government as port of origin and port of destination.
“What this means is that shippers can use this port to bring in their cargo and also use it to export goods or agricultural produce from Kaduna State, neighbouring states or even landlocked countries of Niger, Chad, etc.
“For emphasis, the Kaduna Inland Dry Port, which is the first of its kind in Nigeria, has been licensed to handle import cargo from Lagos seaport-Apapa/Tincan Island port, through the railway or road and also export goods through the same channel. This means shipping has been brought to your doorsteps.
“The Kaduna Inland Dry Port, which is among the seven dry ports being promoted by Nigerian Shippers Council, was built by us (Kaduna Inland Dry Port Ltd) and has the capacity to handle 29,000 tonnes of containers yearly at the first of operation and is likely to double within a short period.
“It is also estimated to generate no fewer than 5,000 direct jobs with the commencement of operations. It is important to also emphasise that the idea to establish inland container depots in the hinterland was informed by the need to reduce the congestion in Lagos ports and provide relief for busy Apapa road,” He said.
Borishade called on shippers from all parts of the north and beyond to do business from the Kaduna port, saying it will save them the trouble of travelling to the seaports in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Calabar to receive or send their cargo.
On the services the port has for farmers who want to export their agricultural products, Borishade said: “Farmers can form cooperatives and come forward with their farm produce and goods to take advantage of our 4,000 square metres capacity warehouse at the port to store and consolidate their export goods for export forwarding to various countries aboard.
“This initiative will empower and create multiple employment in the community. It is a well-known fact that Kaduna State is the largest producer of ginger in the country, and the new port provides the opportunity for the exportation of processed agricultural produce to other countries of the world from Kaduna Inland Dry Port.
“The market for agricultural produce from Kaduna will improve tremendously from now with exportation of the produce and others such as hibiscus, sesame seed, shea butter, etc, to China, Singapore, America, UK and other countries of the world where agricultural products are in high demand.
“We would like to use this opportunity to thank the governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, the minister of transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi and the executive secretary/CEO, Nigerian Shipper Council, Mr Hassan Bello, for making this project a success.
“We call on shippers from Kaduna and all the states in the North to take advantage of the potentialities in this port for revenue generation and wealth creation,” Borishade added.
Our correspondent who visited the port observed that it is fully equipped to handle more than 29,000 containers per annum, and agents can legitimately take delivery of their imported cargoes and as well forward their export goods directly to various countries abroad without hindrances.
Already, Nigerian Customs and other relevant agencies now operate at the port, having been provided with well-equipped office accommodation within the premises to ensure trade facilitation and reduce turnaround time.
Maritime experts are on ground in the port to provide counseling and consultancy services for import and export business processes and procedures.
The dry port has an expansive container terminal, accessible by both rail and road with availability of modern cargo handling equipment and tools to facilitate quick delivery and turnaround time.
Also available are large warehouses for cargo storage, export consolidation, stuffing/unstuffing operations and groupage, which is fully equipped with a technical workshop, modern examination bay, expansive container terminal, and modern Assycuda systems (for Customs).
Our correspondent also observed an expansive trailer park, CCTV cameras, a police post, restaurants, sick bay and banking services at the port.
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