The Federal Government has finally commenced container haulage from Apapa Port to Moniya in Ibadan through the $1.5 billion standard gauge rail, more than two years after the rail line was commissioned by the immediate past President Muhammadu Buhari.
Saidu Alkali, Minister of Transportation, inaugurated the first cargo movement from the Lagos-Ibadan rail corridor on Tuesday during his first official tour in Lagos.
Alkali said that containers will be moved using one line that has been completed out of the three standard gauge lines. At the same time, the government is working on removing the Customs scanner building, impeding the completion of the other two lines.
“We will be doing three trips in a day, which will amount to 90 trips in a month if multiplied by 30 days in a month. By the time the Customs building is removed and the remaining two standard gauge lines are ready for use, we will be doing 270 train trips from Lagos to Ibadan in a month and nine train trips in a day,” he said.
According to him, the commencement of containers from Apapa to Ibadan will help to decongest Apapa roads by reducing the number of containers carrying trucks on the road.
On his part, Fidet Okhiria, managing director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), said the Corporation will increase the trips from three to four as time goes on.
He said is a 30-wagon train fully loaded with import units of containers going to Ibadan.
“The container freight from Lagos Port will take off from APM Terminals in Apapa. We have the facility to move four trips per day, but we are starting with three trips per day for now.
We will be using a temporary track because the Customs building sits along the right of way of the other two lines.
When the Customs building is removed, we can lay the other two tracks deep into the port,” he explained.