By Steve Agbota
The Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has said that the Nigeria Customs Service scanning centre would now be demolished to give way for rail tracks to enter into APM Terminals.
Amaechi who was in the port to inspect the tracks the quays at Apapa port, noted that the Customs building was obstructing the laying of tracks into the Apapa port.
He was accompanied on the visit by the Managing Director of Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) Hadiza Bala Usman, Managing Director of Nigerian Railway Corporation, Fidet Ohiria, and other top government functionaries.
The minister assured that the demolition would be carried out within six months.
In a statement by his Media Assistant, Mrs. Taiye Elebiyo-Edeni, minister said that a decision was reached to create a temporary alternative route inside the port during the period of the demolition.
He however, said that the inauguration would hold in spite of the delay in completion of the last track, adding that the two tracks that led to the Apapa Port have already been completed.
“We had decided in the meeting that a temporary alternative route would be established inside the port while they start demolishing, after which the rail track will be laid and also a survey will be done under the water to find out about the cracks.
“We have also decided that the drainage should be expanded to accommodate more water to reduce the flood on the rail track. There are three tracks, only one track is not able to enter the port which will be resolved. They should be able to remove the customs building in six months,” he said.
He, however, noted that freight operation directly from the port would reduce cost of doing business and increase government revenue.
Also speaking, Managing Director of Nigerian Railway Corporation, Mr. Fidet Ohiria said the Customs building would limit the standard gauge track from 850metres to 700 metres.
“With the customs building there, we are not going to have the required line to move goods massively, but we are going for a technical meeting to find a way around it. Already, the standard gauge has entered ENL, we are thinking of entering APMT, from there and it would enter EKO Support. Without removing the building it is 700 metres as against 850 metres if we remove it,” he said.