NRC opens talks with CCECC on container haulage to Ibadan
The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has opened talks with the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation Ltd (CCECC) on container haulage from Apapa to Ibadan via the newly built standard gauge line.
The conclusion of this new arrangement will see the $1.5 billion Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge Rail Line moving containers from the Apapa Port to the Ibadan Inland Container Depot (ICD).
It will also ensure that a certain percentage of cargo that comes into Nigeria would be moved through alternative transport systems such as railways to enable seamless evacuation, reduce the volume of damages on transit cargoes and reduce the cost of transporting goods for shippers.
Augustine Arase, the Lagos district manager of the NRC told BusinessDay on phone that the railway management was discussing with the CCECC on the possibility of commencing haulage by rail.
According to him, the NRC is yet to license the CCECC to begin the freighting of containers from Apapa Port to Ibadan through the standard gauge rail line.
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“No licence has been granted to CECCC to begin haulage by rail but there is the possibility of obtaining the necessary approvals at the end of the discussions,” he added.
Arase said the first meeting between officials of NRC, the government inspectorate, importers/exporters, and truck owners as well as with APM Terminals, operator of the Apapa Container Terminal, took place last week.
He, however, said that the challenges experienced with the connection of the standard gauge line to the Apapa Port quayside, which hindered the movement of containers from Apapa Port for over 19 months of inaugurating the rail line, have been sorted out.
He said the contractor was able to find a way to bypass the Customs long room that has been an obstruction to the successful linking of the line to the quayside of the port terminal.
“The contractor has been able to build a transition rail line that has successfully entered Apapa Port and is now possible to move containers from the port terminal to Ibadan,” Arase said.
Giving insight into the new arrangement, Woye (@woye1) tweeted that NRC in partnership with CECCC will soon commence the movement of freight via the standard gauge railway line from Apapa port to Lagos-Ibadan railway corridor.
According to the tweet, containers heading to Agbara will be dropped at Kajola while containers heading to the north and eastern parts of the country will be dropped at Ibadan and Abeokuta respectively.
The rail is also expected to evacuate goods from other major terminals in Apapa, including ENL Consortium, and Apapa Bulk Terminal.