• Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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How Africa’s rail offer potentials for Nigeria

How Africa’s rail offer potentials for Nigeria

Concerns about the condition of many African countries and their failure to tap into the potentials offered by the rail sector have at many times and various for a occupied both local abd international discourse.

Nigeria’s rail network for many decades for instance has remained backwards before the resurgence in the current railway modernisation project in some parts country. Nigeria’s total rail network in terms of distance is estimated at about 3,500 kilometers.

Despite the huge potential for growth in the rail sector as a logistics solution provider, the country has failed in its ability and capabilities to lift the 200 million people out of the present lop-sidedness the country is grappling with in the movement of passengers and freight.

Businessday findings show that, at the continental level, the growing population in Africa, coupled with the rise of urbanisation will require additional transport capacity, and the rail sector clearly has a significant role to play.

Read Also: FG, states must prioritize safety on rail level crossing, says minister

Speaking during rolling stock manufacturing and servicing company TMH Africa’s ‘ Transport Month’ webinar held on October 28, Wolfram Schwab, managing director, Products Projects Consulting for Trains said countries should invest in railways as part of a longterm strategy, with political decisions underpinning this, as rail offers a physical advantage for fulfilling mass transport needs.

Schwab acclaimed that, in terms of efficiency, speed, travel distance and capacity, railways have always presented a competitive option with multiple transportation applications.

As a system, rail is highly efficient compared with other forms of transportation. From an infrastructure perspective, railways connect strategic cities, regions and ports.

The importance of services within the industry, with infrastructure, signalling and rolling stock dependent on each other and always needing to be kept in good condition.

Moreover, the element of the digital value chain for rail, whereby digital tools and data, cybersecurity, safety and predictability would support rail as a system.

Examples from European countries, Schwab showed that investment in rail presents a sustainable and economical solution, even as rail enables digitalisation and shared mobility.

The Products Projects Consulting for Trains managing director emphasised that, with Africa currently experiencing an economic recovery with strong growth projections over the next two to three decades, rail offers an efficient, environmentfriendly option as part of countries’ transport solutions.

Citing an African case study, Jerome Boyet, chief executive officer at TMH Africa during the webinar shared a successful case study of the group where TMH International was supplying 1 300 passenger coaches to the Egyptian National Railways (ENR), representing the largest ever rolling stock order in the country to increase ENR’S capacity by up to 30 percent.

This entailed supplying five different types of coaches. Boyet indicated that coaches fully comply with safety regulations. Earlier this month, TMH also signed a three-year contract to supply bogies for passenger rail applications in Egypt. TMH is in discussion with ENR on service provisions for the full lifetime period.

This was signed during the Covid-19 lockdown period, which Boyet says showcases the company’s resilience despite the setbacks caused by the pandemic.

Apart from being a positive contribution to interAfrican trade relationships, it also proves TMH Africa’s exportable skills and capacity in the manufacture of rolling stock.

Boyet says this will showcase TMH Africa’s ability to deliver European technology standards in Africa, and export this globally, competitively.