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Nigeria’s first dry port waits for cargoes

Monday, 11 June 2018 | 16:00

The pioneer inland container depot in Nigeria, the Kaduna Inland Dry Port, is starved of cargoes five months after its inauguration.

The Federal Government had pledged to deploy 20 wagons to move containers in and out of the port, and the Nigerian Railway Corporation had set a deadline of May to deliver the wagons.

The Managing Director, NRC, Fidet Okhiria, said that the 20 wagons that would be dedicated to the services of the Kaduna ICD were expected to arrive in June or July.

But, according to the Managing Director, Inland Container Nigeria Limited, operators of the depot, Ismail Yusuf, the wagons have yet to arrive.

“We are waiting for them; they are yet to supply us the locomotive wagons,” he told journal online, a maritime and general business news portal.

Yusuf had lamented in April last year that only 20 per cent of the ICD’s request was met by the railway corporation, adding that it would be a challenge when the dry port finally begins operations as it would require more cargo volumes.

The Kaduna ICD was inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari on January 4.

During the inauguration, Buhari pointed out that the ICD was “the first proper inland dry port to be completed among the seven earmarked for various parts of the country.”

The ICDs were established by the Federal Government as part of solutions to the problem of inadequate access by hinterland shippers to the seaports.

It is also a way of easing congestion at the Lagos port and traffic pressure on the roads.

The ICDs provide importers and exporters located in the hinterland, especially industrial and commercial outfits, access to shipping and port services, without necessarily visiting the seaports.

They also enable them to process the clearance of their imported cargoes and take delivery of raw materials and machinery close to their places of business.

Buhari had expressed optimism that the ICDs would also provide exporters the much needed facilities to process, package, consolidate and forward their exports to their customers all over the world without having to physically be at the seaports.

The success of the ICDs has been hampered by the poor rail system in the country.

The absence of functioning rail system also means that operators will continue to transport goods by road at exorbitant rates.

Yusuf said that the cost of transporting a container from the Lagos port to Kaduna by road was currently N800,000, which was double the amount one would pay using the rail.
Source: Punch

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