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FG Begins Evacuation Of Cargoes To Kaduna ICD By Rail

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Barring any last minute change, the evacuation of cargoes by rail from Apapa seaport in Lagos to the Kaduna Inland Container Dryport will commence in April, 16 months after it was commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Speaking exclusively with LEADERSHIP at the weekend, executive secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Mr Hassan Bello said the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has designated 24 flatbed wagons for evacuation and transportation of cargoes from the dryport.

Bello stated that the rail evacuation of cargoes is another stage for the actualisation of the Kaduna dryport. He also explained that the flatbed wagons are already on ground and would be deployed in April.

He said: ‘‘We just held a meeting now with NRC and they have so far been involved in the dryport that we now have about 24 flatbed wagons designated for Kaduna dryport. The wagons are on ground now and by April, movement of cargoes will begin from the seaports to Kaduna and that will be another stage for the actualisation of the Kaduna dryport.’’

The Shippers’ Council boss, however, frowned at reports that Togo and Ghana are taking over as hub in West and Central Africa sub-region. He disclosed that Nigerian ports have become efficient and effective, with 80 percent of cargoes coming to West and Central Africa from around the world destined for Nigeria seaports.

“For cargoes coming into West and Central Africa sub-region, Nigeria has 80 per cent of the cargoes while other countries distribute 20 percent among themselves. So, how can they be a hub when Nigeria ports are becoming efficient by the day? We are attracting cargoes from other ports and the moment we get our infrastructure and our connectivity right, importers will patronise the eastern ports.

“The government is tackling insecurity, once that is done, then we will see the real hub. We have the Lekki deep seaport with its huge capacity and when the Lekki deep seaport comes on board, we will get bigger ships and send the smaller ones to other countries”, he said.

Bello, who also spoke on the registration policy initiated by the Council, noted that it is a step towards automating the port and cutting human interface that breeds corruption. According to him, there are lots of benefits inherent in the policy which includes easy payment at the ports.

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