Haulage of containers would this weekend get a boost when the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) deploys containers facilitated by Inland Containers Nigeria Ltd (ICNL) via the rail tract system from Lagos to Kano, after years of expectation.
The new leap provided by ICNL, will according to NRC Managing Director Engr. Adeseyi Sijuwade, “demonstrate the corporation’s ability and readiness to further enhance the development on the nation’s economy”, with an active private sector participation.
According to him, “20 wagons carrying between 20 to 40 containers would be moved during the pilot scheme, while efforts are in top gear to increase the frequency to thrice per week”
Sijuwade added that the commencement of the container freight will, help in decongesting the ports as well as help in facilitating the establishment and use of Inland Container Depots (ICDs) along the track corridors. With the strengthening of the freight capacity, the corporation was ready to enter into partnership with organizations that require the services of the Corporation in freighting their cargoes across the country”
To him single train haulage of 20 containers is equivalent to 20 trailers or 40 trucks on the road. This goes a long way to improve the state of our roads, boost the economic, health, safety and environmental sustainability of the nation.
ICNL Managing Director, Mallam Ismail Yusuf was similarly elated noting that the ICNL was taking a “giant leap forward by commencing rail haulage of containers from Lagos to Kano and Kaduna Inland Container Terminals respectively”.
Stressing that being a foremost dry port operator in Nigeria, the company’s birth in 1980 through instrumentality of a presidential fiat to open up the hinterland to shipping trade and to provide the necessary panacea to the intractable port congestion became a welcomed development among international communities, particularly in the Maritime Sector.
“And this impacted positively on the economy through a massive service delivery of import goods and import products with the associated earnings from such trade. However, a functioning rail haulage system is very vital for a seamless distribution of cargo accross Nigeria. The vital rail haulage system has been inert for several years despite several forlorn attempts at revamping the system”, he stated.
The Managing Director regretted that the last batch of container traffic on rail left the sea port in March, 1996 and the wagons never returned for lack of traffic and declining fortunes of the rail corporation. The much awaited succour came with positive intervention of the President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan lead government to remodel the rail system and reinstate it to its rightful place.
He revealed that “The current expectations are hinged on a carrying capacity of a twenty-wagon train load which will hopefully make a round trip in ten days with a fortnight movement through a iron tract of 1132 kilometers to Kano and 909 kilometers to Kaduna and also return empty/export boxes within the same journey with a three day transit time on each leg”.
Yusuf is further hopeful as the company looks forward to an optimum capacity of the carriage units that will offer a sixty-wagon train every forty-eight hours within a three day transit time on seven day round trip. This will make the rail haulage more competitive to deliver peace of mind, confidence, and value to customers.
Furthermore, the company is presently working on a standard dry port project that will eliminate unnecessary delays at the seaports to make container transfer seamless in line with international practices. The development will obviously place a more serious challenge on the rail network for more locomotives and standard wagons on standard rail gauge.
Inland Containers Nigeria Limited is a leading integrated shipping and logistics company in West Africa, providing full service freight forwarding, shipping and logistics solutions to individuals, small and medium scale enterprises, conglomerates and governments across West Africa.
It currently operate 2 Inland Container Terminals in Kaduna and Kano, which enable them handle the import and export operations of customers in Northern Nigeria without such customers having to deal with the hassles of processing their cargo in Lagos or transporting them to or from Lagos ports. They are also in the process of completing an Inland Container Depot in Kaduna