Stakeholders harp on effective intermodal transport for Nigeria
Stakeholders in the transport sector have stressed the need for effective intermodal transport architecture and inter-connectivity such that the railway would be properly linked to the inland waterways, ports, and road transport network for more effective and efficient logistics penetration.
The operators, who spoke at the National Conference and Annual General Meeting of the Chartered Institute of Logistics And Transport Nigeria (CILT), in Effurun, Delta State, observed that rail transportation development an integral part of multimodal freight logistics, which has been neglected over time.
They urged that this trend must be deliberately halted if Nigeria is to fully realise her socio-economic potentials.
Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi 0kowa, who was represented by Victor Omonoyi, acknowledged the importance of a multimodal freight logistics to the economy, and pledged his support for a virile transport system.
The National President, CILT, Ibrahim Jubril, said the choice of Warri for the conference coincides with the centenary anniversary of the Institute, and is symbolic, as it has the best representation of multi-modalism in Nigeria – with the presence of rail, road, maritime, air and pipeline transportation.
Jubril, who was represented by the Deputy National President, Alban Igwe, noted that the state of logistics services and its accompanying and supporting infrastructure presently in place leaves much to be desired.
The conference agreed that the existing legal framework, the Railway Act 1955, cannot support current aspiration for the establishment and unbundling of a modern, efficient and effective railway infrastructure, which can in turn impact positively on an efficient and effective multimodal freight logistics mechanism.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the confab, it was observed that the average cumulative sub-sectorial capital expenditure allocations in the transport sector were to the disadvantage of the railway, which invariably is the transport mode that is capable of carrying bulk freight.
The stakeholders were worried that Nigeria as a nation has not ventured into an integrated railway network linking all the zones in the country, as well as linking the immediate regional neighbours.
The forum argued that the fact that only the Apapa and Port Harcourt ports are linked to rail does not augur well for Nigeria’s economic development.
Noting that the absence of regulatory framework to liberalise rail transportation also poses a critical challenge, the stakeholders said the Railway Act 1955 should be repealed in this regard.
They however called for encouragement of Public Private Partnership (PPP) investment model, to attract more funds into the rail transport subsector, and incentives should be made available to the investors.
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