Hope rises for Nigeria’s dry ports
Kaduna, Jos facilities to be commissioned this year
Respite appears to be underway for importers and exporters, as the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), has raised the hope for the completion of a number of dry port projects in the country.
A dry port, also known as Inland Container Depot (ICD), is an inland intermodal terminal directly connected by road or rail to a seaport, and operating as a centre for the transshipment of sea cargo to inland destinations.
Already, the Kaduna Inland Dry Port has recently scaled through executive clearance, waiting to be commissioned in the next few months. The Guardian gathered that the Jos Dry Port is now about 65 per cent completed, while work is progressing on the Benin Dry Port.
The dry ports would receive cargo from Apapa, Lagos, and other seaports through the railway and send the cargoes through the same channel. This will largely reduce ports congestion, reduce truck haulage, and provide ultimate relief for the busy road network.
The Executive Secretary/ Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Shippers Council, Hassan Bello, told The Guardian that the Kaduna ICD would be commissioned in less than three months to buoy commercial activities in the region.
Bello, who was optimistic about the speed of work on the project, said he is working with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, to shore up the nation’s exports through dry ports.
He said: “The dry port will buoy economic activities of the region, just like Lagos, where we have seaport and it impacts on the economy of Lagos. The same thing in Port Harcourt, and Calabar, where we are thinking about bulk export and import; on export for example, we will like to see optimal utilisation of agricultural resources. This is a huge agricultural location and there are lots of demand for agricultural goods, so we are expecting clusters of industries to spring up, to process the goods and export them through this port.
“This port is a panacea for the congestion in Apapa port, because a port is not a warehouse, so goods coming in should be cleared as soon as they arrive,” he said. Bello said many more dry ports will soon spring up in Nigeria, just as the Jos project is expected to come on stream before the end of this year.
“The idea with Jos is that many firms have expressed interest because there are lots of tonnage in Jos, just as it is in Kaduna,” he said. The Managing Director, Atlantique Marine, Charles Akhigbe, said the project would boost trade and commerce activities in the country, noting that before now, 24 per cent of the nation’s trade and commerce activities are crossing the border informally.
“The project is very nice and good for the whole country. This is what we should have in our economy so that there will be what you call formal trade and commerce activities rather than the prevailing informal activities.
“This will encourage young people to be entrepreneurs or industrialists because you can stay in Kaduna and order for your goods from abroad, and the freight forwarders and the shippers will put your container on a train and they bring it straight to you.
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