Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
The federal government has stated that with the commencement of cargo delivery by rail to the Kaduna Inland Dry Port, a new vista of commercial opportunities has been opened not only for northern businessmen, but also neighbouring countries.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, said this while inaugurating the port in Kakuri, Kaduna state.
According to him, “The progressive effort of the present administration in rail rehabilitation and construction was aimed at ensuring effective inter-model transport connectivity nationwide.”
Amaechi, noted that the dry port would will greatly provide the needed stimulus for massive economic growth in Kaduna state and the country at large.
“The inland ports would not only reduce transport costs but also bring shipping to the door steps of shippers as it will also stimulate economic growth and prosperity.”
The minister, represented by the Director of Service, Ministry of Transportation, Sani Galadanci, noted that, dry ports are transport infrastructure projects promoted by the ministry and Nigeria Shippers Council as part of the solutions to problems faced by hinterland shippers.
He said: “Today’s event has opened a new vista of commercial opportunities not only for Northern businessmen, but also neighbouring countries.
“The dry port will also address the problems of inadequate access to sea ports, remove frequent congestion which resulted in the loss of cargo on transit, carnage and accident on the land mode.”
He, however, called for collaboration among all stakeholders to ensure success.
Similarly, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Hassan Bello, said the council was yet to finalise the actual cost of freight forwarding by rail.
But, he was sure that the cost would be half of the current price. Bello noted that, following the commencement of rail operations at the Kaduna dry port, cargo delivery services to northern part of the country may be slashed by 50 percent.
He said: “Usually, freight transportation by road from Lagos seaport to Kaduna Cost about N700,000 – N1million. However, the flag-off of rail operations at the dry port, would among other things reduce transportation cost, ease cargo clearance and also remove the cost of demurrage.”
He said the train has about 24 wagons with the capability to carry an average of 24 containers. He added that the federal government has been working assiduously to increase the number of wagons so as to increase the number of containers being transported through rail.
“About 24,000 direct jobs would be created and we are in talks with the Niger Republic and Chad to make the Kaduna dry port their port of destination which would further boost economic activities and create more jobs,” he added.
To further attract investors to the dry port, the ES hinted the government was in talks with the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council in London to attract investment.
The Kaduna State Governor Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, in his remark, observed that the significance of the Kaduna Dry port was that goods can be exported and imported in and out of Kaduna inland dry port without the containers being opened up for inspection in Lagos.
The governor disclosed plan to send a delegation to the Republic of Niger to sensitise the government of that country about the benefits of receiving their goods in Kaduna instead of Lagos.