From Uche Usim, Abuja
The hope of decongesting the Apapa, Tin Can and other seaports in the country appears brightened as the Federal Government may be considering establishing two additional dry ports to support the Kaduna Inland Container Deport (KICD).
The dry ports, when operational, will lighten the vehicular traffic along apapa-wharf roads since a good number of containers will be moved directly to the hinterlands for necessary documentation.
A dry port or inland port 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.
The Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hassan Bello, stated this, on Tuesday, in an exclusive interview with Daily Sun in his Abuja office.
According to him, the grand blueprint of the NSC in 2017 centres on trade facilitation, stressing that the Buhari administration was bent on using the transport sector to turn around the economy for good.
Bello said the Transportation Minister, the Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong and other stakeholders will be visiting the Jos dry port to see the extent of work done.
His words: “We’re determined to deal with the perennial issue of port congestion. We really want to collaborate with stakeholders on the decongestion of the port. We are also committed to the establishment of inland dry ports. As a matter of fact, on Thursday, the Minister of Transportation with the Governor of Plateau State will carry out an inspection on the ongoing Jos dry port in the state. That is very important. “Other dry ports have lots of construction works going on in them. We hope to deliver one or two dry ports this year. We have seen the potentialities of the dry port project. They are having partnerships now and are being driven by the private sector.
“More importantly, we have revised the concession agreement; we’ve brought new workable and pragmatic timelines. But then, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council has told the concessionaires that we would not hesitate to cancel any concession agreement if they are not able to meet with out timelines and guidelines. The Ministry of Transportation is more or less like a business Ministry, working hard to attract investors, generate revenue for the government and improve legitimate trade’, he stated.
The NSC boss further revealed that the Council has since commissioned a study to look at the nation’s internal transport system and seek ways of moderating its operations.