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NPA seeks improved rail service to boost cargo movement

 The Nigerian Ports Authority
(NPA) says the provision of more wagons and locomotives would
boost the movement of cargo through the rail system.

The Apapa Port Manager, Mr Nasir Mohammed stated this
in an interview in Lagos.

He said the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) had a
major task of providing more wagons and locomotives to improve evacuation of
cargo from the ports.

“The issue of intermodal has been of concern to NPA
management as a whole but particularly Lagos Port Complex, because we already
have an existing rail track which the Nigerian Ports Authority rehabilitated
and started operating through the Nigerian Railways.

“Sincerely it has not been quite encouraging because
the inland container depot or the terminal that is responsible for moving these
containers have continued to draw our attention.

“That they have a lot of cargo that they want to take
to the hinterlands; as far as Kaduna and Kano but they have always been
challenged about the availability of wagons and locomotives.

“Of course, that’s an area for the Nigerian Railway
and we want to believe that the railway is looking into how they can improve
their services from the ports including, by providing more wagons or
locomotives so that a lot more containers can be moved out.

Mohammed said the rehabilitated rail tracks in the
port would improve the movement of cargo to the hinterlands “if there are
enough wagons and locomotives to work with’’.
 He mentioned that key stakeholders using the port had
expressed their willingness to diversify the movement of cargo and not to continue
to rely on the already over-stretched roads.
“We have earlier contacted some terminal operators
who equally expressed interest that if the railway can be available and
effective, they want to believe many of the importers would not mind moving the
bulk cargo through the rails.

“We have also gone a little further and we want to
put it in the front burner to discuss with some of these terminals to look at
the possibility of moving some cargoes, especially containers, through the

“We have already agreed that the volumes far outweigh
the physical facilities, leading into and out of the port.

“The roads cannot continue to cope, no matter how
good they are. The capacity of the road has been over stretched.
“So, we must continue to encourage our partners to explore
these other options,’’ the port manager said.

The port manager said the NPA would readily support
intermodal initiatives; rail, waterways and road, for effective cargo movement
from the ports. 

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