The Federal Government on Tuesday began the movement of import units of containers from the Apapa Port in Lagos to Moniya in Ibadan, Oyo State, via the $1.5 billion standard gauge rail.
Recall that the Nigerian Tribune recently reported that the standard gauge rail, which has since been completed and connected to the Lagos Port one year ago, has been lying idle.
Inaugurating the first trip on Tuesday, the Honourable Minister of Transportation, Saidu Alkali, said that the container freight movement will be done on one of the three standard gauge lines for now while efforts are on to remove the Customs scanner building impeding the other two lines.
According to the Honourable Minister of Transportation, “You are all welcome to the commissioning of the inaugural movement of containers from Apapa Port to Ibadan.
“We will be doing three trips in a day. If you multiply three trips by 30 days, that will give you 90 trips in a month.
“By the time the Customs building is removed and the remaining two standard gauge lines are ready for use, we will be doing 270 train trips from Lagos to Ibadan in a month and nine train trips in a day.
With the movement of containers from Apapa to Ibadan, we expect the Apapa Port to be decongested and our roads to be free of container-carrying trucks.”
Also speaking, the Managing Director of the NRC, Engineer Fidet Okhiria, explained that the Corporation hopes to increase the trips from three to four as time goes on.
“We are blessed today that the visit of the Honourable Minister coincides with the launch of container movement from Lagos Port to Ibadan.
What you are all seeing is a 30-wagon train fully loaded with import units of containers going to Ibadan.
“The freight of containers from Lagos Port will be taking off from APM Terminals in Apapa. We have the facility to move four trips per day, but we are starting with three trips per day for now.
“What we are using is the temporary track because of the Customs building that is sitting along the right of way of the other two lines.
When the Customs building is removed, we will be able to lay the other two tracks deep into the port so that we can use all of them to move Containers to Ibadan,” the NRC MD stated.
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