FOR competitive advantage and sustained economic growth, the need to focus on the development of Inland Container Depots (ICD) cannot be overemphasized.
This was the advice of maritime stakeholders and other experts who spoke at a sensitisation workshop held in Kaduna State recently.
The stakeholders urged the Federal Government to employ all effort to support the actualisation of the ICD project in view of its numerous benefits to members of the business communities.
Participants also charged all Importers and Exports to comply with the documentation and clearing procedures to avoid losses and delays.
Declaring the forum tagged: “Towards the Successful Take-Off of the Kaduna Inland Dry Port’’, open, the Minister of transport, Chibuike Amaechi, urged maritime stakeholders and trading associations to take advantage of the initiative designed to among others decongest existing seaports.
He explained that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on March 15, 2006, approved the development of six ICD projects on a Public Private Partnership basis under the Build Own Operate and Transport (BOOT) Agreement.
Also speaking at the event jointly organised by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) and Kaduna Inland Container Nigeria Limited (ICNL), the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Barnabas Bala, said the commencement of the dry port was significant to the state.
According to El-Rufai, the dry port is an important component of the international logistic chain which would also determine the competitiveness of a nation in the international market.
Explaining further, the Governor said: “In the APC Kaduna State Manifesto titled “The Restoration Programme’’, Kaduna State Government promises to leverage on its proximity to Abuja to become a major transportation hub for access to Northern Nigeria’s population and markets”.
He added: “The operation of Inland dry port here in Kaduna will go a long way in ensuring that our vision becomes a reality.’’
According to the Governor, Kaduna dry port had been gazetted by the Federal Government to operate.
Executive Secretary of Nigeria Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hassan Bello, told the gathering that the IDP was conceived as part of government’s reform Programme in the transport sector.
He said the project was designed to decongest the seaports and bring shipping closer to importers and exporters in the hinterlands.
Bello said the Federal Executive Council granted approval for the establishment of projects in six locations namely Aba, Ibadan, Jos, Kano, Funtua and Maiduguri to build on Public Private Partnership (PPP) using BOOT model for a period ranging from 25-30years.
The NSC boss said: “The dry port will help to contribute to the reduction of transportation and transaction costs and will also attract various international and regional development services.
“The dry port will also improve Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state government”, said Bello.
Bello informed the gathering that NSC is interested in the development of a Truck Transit Park (TTP) in Kaduna State.
According to Bello, the TTP is a modern State of the art facility designed to provide temporary rest location were truck drivers can conveniently, park their vehicles in a healthy environment, get accommodation, fuel, food, drinks, rest rooms, showers and other basic supplies like oil and spare parts as well as servicing of their vehicles”.
He explained that the feasibility study conducted on the project nationwide has identified Mararaban Jos amongst the viable locations.
Explaining further during the sensitisation seminar, Bello said: “The centrality of Kaduna State and its strategic location along the Lagos-Kano-Jibia (LAKAJI) corridor with a high traffic of heavy-duty vehicles make it an ideal location for the project”.
He disclosed that the Councils recently forwarded a request for the allocation of a “suitable land at Mararaban Jos about 45 hectares with the layout plan and the model designs to enable the State Government key into the project which is expected to be executed on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.”
Under the arrangement, the host state government would undertake the obligation of providing the land as well as infrastructure including access road, electricity and water supply.
Bello said: “The ICDs and TTP projects were both conceived to facilitate efficient Cargo delivery to our hinterland importers and exporters, provide access to port services, stimulate economic development, boost export of agricultural commodity, provide employment opportunities and increase revenue generation to the state.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the paper presentation and discussions, participants explained that there is need to develop transport infrastructural project as part of measures to lift international trade.
The communiqué recalled that Inland Dry Ports (ICD) projects were conceived in line with governments port reform programme to decongest the seaports and bring shipping port services closer to importers and exporters in the hinterland.
According to the communiqué, participants commended the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) and Inland Containers Nigeria Limited (ICNL) for organizing the seminar and call for more effort to ensure full implementation of the ICD and UP Projects in Nigeria.
Other resolutions include the call on the private investors to take advantage of the numerous opportunities of dry ports and invest in activities that would have greater impacts on the infrastructure.
Part of the communiqué explained: “Participants urged the federal government to declare the other ICDs with the status of port of origin for export and final destination for imports.
The federal government has been call upon to employ all effort to support the actualisation of the ICD project in view of its numerous benefits to the business committee in the state and its environs.
“Participants charged all Importers and Exports to comply with the documentation and clearing procedures to avoid losses and delays.
“The Kaduna State government should facilitate the completion of the road networks leading to the dry port and other essential facilities like water and electricity for smooth operation of the dry port.
“Participants call for synergy between NSC, NPA, NCS and the NRC for successful operations of ICDs in Nigeria.
“The participants agitated for the integration and development of the various transport modes and infrastructure to ensure seamless movement of cargo.
“More effort should be employed by the Federal Government in the rehabilitation of the rail services for a functional rail system to compliment the roads in freight and passenger movement.
“The participants commended the Kaduna State government and the ICNL for the successful upgrade of the bonded terminal leading to its gazetting as an Inland Dry Port with the full status of port of origin and final destination.
“The need for the development of National Policy on ICDs and TIPs by the Federal Government of Nigeria was highlighted”, said the communique.
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