Kaduna Inland Dry Port has handled a total of 92O Twenty Equivalent Units of container (TEUs) in the first quarter of 2023, according to the first quarter achievement of the north-west zonal directorate of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC).
According to the office, the issue around ineffective operations of rail lines in the country is affecting the effectiveness of Kaduna Inland Dry Port and needs to be addressed in earnest.
BusinessDay findings show that the movement of containers from Apapa Port to Inland Container Depot (ICDs) in the north has slowed in recent times due to issues around the rail tracks, both standard and narrow gauges.
It cost over N1.2 million to move containers from Lagos to Kano and Kaduna by road while railing costs about N200,000.
Also, over 22 months after President Muhammadu Buhari commissioned the commercial operations of the $1.5 billion Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge Rail Line, the rail track is yet to begin the strategic function of moving containers from the Apapa Port to the Ibadan Inland Container Depot.
According to industry close watchers, poor utilisation of rail lines in the haulage of containers to ICDs makes the depots not to be cost-effective for shippers as haulage by road using trucks comes with a high cost compared to rail.
Confirming this, Cajetan Agu, the director of Consumer Affairs of the NSC, said recently during the visit of Igor van den Essen, the regional managing director of Africa and Europe for APM Terminals to the Council’s head office in Lagos, that rail linkage to the port will help in driving the inland dry port initiative of the Federal Government.
He said the terminal operator needs to work with the Nigerian Railway Corporation towards ensuring that the railway is used as an alternative means of evacuating cargo from the port.
Ismail Yusuf, managing director of Inland Containers Nigeria Limited (ICNL), said when NRC resumed container haulage by rail it helped to reduce cost, save time for cargo owners, and further ensure the safety of the consignments.
He said it costs less than half of what consignees spend on the road to move containers by rail.
Meanwhile, the first quarter report said that President Muhammadu Buhari also commissioned Dala Inland Dry Port Kano, on the 30th of January 2023, making it a port where cargoes can be exported to and received from.
Also, on February 2, 2023, the Federal Government declared Funtua Inland Dry Port in Katsina State as a port of origin and final destination.
On February 20, 2023, the Council’s team together with Zamfara State Officials carried out a survey on four proposed lands earmarked for the Inland Dry Port (IDP) and Vehicle Transit Area (VTA) in Zamfara State.