BY YUSUF BABALOLA, Lagos
The managing director of Inland Container Nigeria Limited (ICNL), operator of Kaduna Dry Port, Mr Ismail Yusuf, has said the commencement of the dryport will improve movement of transit cargoes from the seaports in the southern part of the country to Northern Nigeria and other neighbouring landlocked countries like Chad and Niger Republic.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with LEADERSHIP, Yusuf said the dryport, which is fully equipped to attend to the needs of shippers in the Northern part of the country and some landlocked countries like Chad and Benin Republic, is ready to commence operations soon.
LEADERSHIP had exclusively reported that Niger Republic has resumed movement of transit cargoes through the Nigerian ports.
According to Yusuf, instead of discharging cargoes at Lagos ports and transporting them with trucks to the North and places like Chad, Niger Republic borders, which usually attracts huge cost, the importers could ask the shipping companies to send their cargoes to Kaduna dryport.
He said, ‘‘We have better services for shippers up north and in those landlocked countries. We have facilities that can handle their cargoes. They have been spending heavily to move their cargoes from Lagos seaport but now that we have Kaduna dry port, which is about 1000km to Niger Republic, I think instead of going down to Lagos to pick cargoes, they can just come to Kaduna dryport to pick such cargoes at a lesser cost.
“Also, all the manufacturing companies in the North instead of taking deliveries of cargoes in the South will prefer to take to Kaduna dry port because of closeness and reduction in the cost of transportation”.
Hinting that the dryport will be a replica of a seaport, Yusuf said operation at the dryport will be faster and seamless, even as he also disclosed that the dryport is connected by rail for movement of cargoes from Lagos port.
His words: “The dry port is a replica of a seaport but the difference is water. Ports at coastal areas have water while ports at the hinterland have no water; that is why it is called dryport. All the facilities at the sea port are also available at the dry port; all the approved agencies of government at the seaport are also present at the dryport.
“The facility was once operated as a bonded terminal and in that sense we have two rail tracks entering the terminal. So today, if the port is commissioned, containers will move directly from Apapa port to Kaduna dryport without any delay”.
He however called on the government to urgently link the other ports in Lagos with rail for upward transfer of containers to the dryport.
He said, “As far as we are concerned, we can only move containers by rail through Apapa port now until the NRC or the federal government connects other ports through rail.
‘‘If other ports are not connected by rail, it will be extra cost for the importers to pay because they will have to get trucks to move the containers to Apapa ports for onward transfer to the dryport. In real sense, it’s not economical; I therefore urge the federal government to connect other ports to rail”.