FG, Kaduna Govt Assure Rail Services, Other Infrastructures for ICD Operations
*ICD flags-off operation in three months
By Francis Ugwoke
The federal government and the Kaduna State government Tuesday assured every necessary support for the successful operation of the Kaduna Inland Container, ICD, in the state.
The Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi and Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State said this was because ICDs create a lot of economic opportunities, including job opportunities for youths and need to be supported.
Amaechi said during the final site inspection of the Kaduna ICD Tuesday by the Minister, his officials and those from the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, NSC, that with rail links to Kaduna and other parts of the country, dry ports will be a huge success.
He said that the rail lines will soon be ready, adding that this will be a big boost for ICD in Kaduna and others operating in many parts of the country.
Specifically, Amaechi said that the Lagos-Kano rail line and the Lagos- Port Harcourt standard gauge will start running before the end of the year.
He said that he was delighted with what he saw on ground, adding that the dry port will soon flag-off operation.
According to him, the vision of the present administration was to establish an efficient transport system that will boost economic activities in all parts of the country.
He disclosed that there were plans to procure additional 20 locomotives dedicated for cargo movement from Lagos to Kano as well as Lagos to Port Harcourt.
Amaaechi said that the rail projects on completion will make it easier for shippers to move their goods through rails, adding that this will save them a lot of costs, time and safety of their goods.
Amaechi pointed out that government also had the intention of creating jobs in the country by promoting ICDs.
According to him, “We are doing everything possible to create jobs and whatever the federal government needs to do to get the port running will be done.
“The rail line will soon start running before the end of the year, which will be used to deliver goods at the port.
“Everything is set for commissioning because we have the land, warehouse and all but we want to wait for the completion of the roads.
“We want to wait for more activities in the dry port before we get the President to commission it.
“I have visited Jos and they are doing a good job and they promised to be ready by June. I have visited Kaduna and what I have seen is commendable”..
The Minister was full of thanks to the Kaduna State Governor for the support he has given for the smooth take-off of Kaduna ICD.
He called on the importers and exporters to patronise the Kaduna ICD, adding that the idea was to bring shipping services nearer to the people.
Governor el-Rufai in his statement while thanking the sponsors of the Kaduna ICD said the state government will do everything possible to make it succeed.
He said that his administration has always supported the project to succeed, explaining that the idea was to create jobs for the people of the state.
He called on the promoters of the project to employ youths from the state as there were talented professionals instead of bringing in workers from Lagos.
El-Rufa promised to expand the road leading to the ICD and also create another way into the terminal to avoid the kind of congestion as has been the case in Lagos ports.
He also assured that the state was ready to address all issues that will work against the success of the ICD, and urged the promoters of the project to turn to the state government if they encounter any problem affecting the terminal.
EL-Rufai said, “we inherited this project from the previous administration and we thought it was a project worthy of our support and we did everything we could to make sure it works.
“We tried to do whatever we could to ensure that the infrastructure that is required to make the project a reality is done.
“The road will be reconstructed with concrete pavement and we realised that we do not want to replicate the problem of Apapa port because it only has one exit and one entry..
“We want to support this work because 85 per cent of the population of Kaduna State consists of young people below the age of 35 and our biggest challenge; and our economic policy focus on creation of jobs.
“So, I appeal to you to make the best use of the facility, The Kaduna State Government will be a partner and we will direct all the companies that we are attracting to Kaduna to use this facility”.
Executive Secretary, NSC, Barr Hassan Bello said that the visit to the terminal was to inspect the facilities for the take-off of the ICD.
Bello explained that the idea of the inspection was to ensure that the mistakes made in the case of seaports in the country were avoided.
He said that the Council wants to ensure that necessary infrastructures were in place so that international organisations, including FIATA and International Maritime Organisation, IMO, can recognize them.
He added that with such recognition, importers can consign their goods to the terminals as Port of Destination from any part of the world.
Commending the state government for the immense support so far given to the terminal, Bello said such goodwill should be sustained for the success of the ICD.
Bello said, ”we are committed to make the port a modern port and in compliance with international standard to ensure proper regulations, we will also ensure that appropriate cargo clearance equipment will be deployed while human and vehicular traffic within the port will be avoided as much as possible”
Chairman of the ICNL Nigeria Limited, ICNL, which is the promoter of the Kaduna ICD, Dr. Temitope Borishade in his speech said that it was as a result of good government policies that prompted the company to go into the ICD project.
Borishade said that the company was out to provide efficient services to shippers for the benefit of the national economy.
He commended the federal government and the NSC for the encouragement in ensuring that the project becomes a reality.
He said that the plan of the company was to flag-off operation in the next three months.
The ICD has capacity to handle a cargo volume of 29,000 containers per annum.
With a Port of Origin status, importers can consign their goods to the dry port from any part of the world.