The Nigerian Railway Corporation has resumed movement of cargoes in containers to Kano and Kaduna Inland Dry Port.
Managing Director of Inland Containers Nigeria Limited (ICNL), Ismail Yusuf who confirmed the resumption to journalists in Lagos said about forty containers have been moved in the first instance.
He also said an additional forty empty containers have been returned through same mode to Lagos from the Kano and Kaduna Dry Port, which is a subsidiary company of ICNL
Yusuf added that the movement by rail will contribute to cost reduction, time saving and further ensure safety of the consignments being moved by rail.
According to him, it will now cost half of what is presently spent on road haulage to move containers by rail.
He added that ICNL is still in talks with NRC to deploy additional coaches to the port operation because his company has cargoes on ground to be moved.
“As you know that Federal Government is encouraging the Nigerian Railway Corporation to ensure movement of cargo from the sea port to the hinterland and this is very critical to our Kano bonded terminal and Kaduna Inland Dry Port, which is our subsidiary company. The management of ICNL and Kaduna Dry Port has led to the management of the railway corporation to discuss the modalities of how they can come back to life. We thank God that our request has been acceded to and this is the outcome of our discussion
“It has been fruitful and the railway corporation had commenced movement of cargo from the sea port to the hinterland , that is to ICNL and Kaduna Dry Port. Presently, they have supplied us two rails for the last two weeks. We have moved about forty containers, and this will continue every fortnight until we attain maximum capacity.
“The number of containers being moved also depends on availability of locomotives, and as long as we have enough cargos to load. We have started from somewhere: from one to two rails, and from there we can increase it to four or five rails. We are talking with NRC on how we can increase the capacity to meet the yearnings of customers who want to use the services of the rail corporation. Time spent on the movement is a minimum of forty eight hours and maximum of seventy two” Yusuf said
The NRC halted movement of containers by rail from Apapa ports last year for rehabilitation of the railway tracks
Lagos Railway District Manager, Mr. Jerry Oche had in September 2020 said that that the suspension of the rail service is to pave way for the resumption of laying of tracks on the ongoing standard gauge rail project.
He explained further that the period would also enable the contractor to meet up the December deadline to complete the project.
According to Oche; “we have to stop the operation on Tuesday to enable our contractor handling the standard gauge to have access to the whole line because they are trying to meet the December handover date. They are also expected to rehabilitate the old narrow gauge and work on the new narrow gauge, the one entering the port and if we continue to run trains, that will be difficult.”
“The idea is for us to get a better service by the time we resume and the only way for us to get that is for us to shut down now. By the time we will be resuming, we expect to get a rehabilitated narrow gauge as well as a brand new standard gauge all entering the port.
“Even if the standard gauge is not ready, definitely the narrow gauge is not going to be in the same condition we are leaving it now. It will be in a better form and issues of accident and derailment will be a thing of the past. So it is a sacrifice we all have to make, ”Oche said.