Months after evacuation of cargoes by rail was suspended at the Apapa Port, Lagos State, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council has taken steps to reactivate the service at the country’s largest container terminal, APM Terminals, Apapa.
The service was temporarily suspended due to operational issues between the Nigeria Railway Corporation and APMT.
The NSC said in an effort to enhance operational efficiency and to encourage multi-modal approach to cargo evacuation, especially during the coronavirus disease crisis, it had decided to broker a meeting between APMT and the NRC, where a Standards Operational Procedure was agreed upon between the two parties.
“NSC will closely monitor developments thereafter,” said NSC’s Head of
Public Relations, Rakiya Zubairu.
After the meeting, NSC management, in company of Port Health officials, visited the commercial offices of APMT to observe compliance with health and safety protocols issued by the authorities.
Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, had expressed dissatisfaction with the non-utilisation of the rail system for the movement of cargoes.
Amaechi, while discussing ‘Rail Infrastructure: Progress and Plan’ at the Nigeria 2020 Economic Outlook organised by Deloitte on January 28 in Lagos, said such a situation was not good for the growth of the rail sector.
According to him, unless businesses and individuals start utilising the railways for the movement of goods, it would be difficult for the Federal Government to recoup the huge amount spent in constructing the railways.
“Itakpe to Warri railway is ready; where are the cargoes for it? So, you said the Federal Government should provide infrastructure, which we have done. We have awarded another contract to construct railway from Abuja to Itakpe, and Abuja to Warri, with a new seaport to be constructed in Warri,” he had said.
He added that the Federal Government would soon commence construction of the standard gauge railway from Ibadan to Kano, which he said would cost $5.3bn, for the distance covering 860 kilometres.
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