The congestion at Nigeria’s ports especially in Lagos might be easing soon as the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) has said that the Katsina Inland Dry Port and the Dala Inland Dry Port, Kano are expected to be ready and commence operations before July 2022.
The ICRC said the revelation was made by the concessionaires of the 2 ports during a meeting with the management of the ICRC, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) and the concessionaires of the 6 Inland Container Depots (ICDs).
According to NAN, the Acting Head, Media and Publicity of ICRC, Manji Yarling, in a statement issued on Thursday in Abuja, said that the meeting was at the instance of the commission to get the ICDs located in each of the geo-political zones of Nigeria become operational.
What the concessionaires of the 2 Inland Dry Ports are saying
The Managing Director of Equatorial Marine Oil and Gas Limited, Mr Usman Abbas, concessionaires of the Katsina Dry Port, informed the ICRC team that the Funtua port was already at over 85% completion stage.
He added that it was ready to launch before the end of the second quarter of 2022.
He said, “We hope to commission this project before the end of the second quarter and the ports will become functional immediately. We are lucky to have great relationships in the shipping industry and with major shipping lines.’’
The Managing Director of Dala Inland Dry Port Limited, Mr Ahmed Rabiu, also hinted that the construction of the container depot was already nearing completion, assuring that the company was working assiduously to ensure project completion and take off before the end of March.
What the Acting Director-General of ICRC is saying
The Acting Director-General of ICRC, Michael Ohiani, said that 16 years after the concession contracts were signed, some of the ICDs were still at 5% completion while only two had gotten to 55% and 68%, and as such, the need for the meeting.
He said, “We want to rub minds and come up with how we can make progress. What are the challenges, taking into consideration that these projects have already gotten Mr President’s attention and more so, we need to decongest our seaports.
“Also when completed, these ICDs will bring the required benefit to our citizens and our country Nigeria.
“We are not unaware that at the material time that the contracts were signed, ICRC as a Commission had not been set up, so no proper Outline Business Cases (OBCs) were done for the projects like we now do, but I want us to have a frank discussion so that we can chart a way forward.”
The Commission reminded the concessionaires and NSC that by its Act, it was to take custody of all PPP contracts including the ones for the ICDs.
The concessionaires and states where the ports are located include: Oyo state (Ibadan) with 50,000 Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEUs), by Catamaran Logistics Ltd; Abia State (Isiala Ngwa) with 50,000 TEUs by Eastgate Ltd; Plateau State (Jos) with 20,000 TEUs by Duncan Maritime Nig. Ltd.
Others are Kano State (Dala) with 20,000 TEUs by Dala Inland Dry Port Ltd.; Katsina State (Funtua) with 10,000 TEUs by Equitorial Marine Oil and Gas Ltd. and Borno state (Maiduguri) with 10,000 TEUs by Migfo Nigeria Ltd.
The Federal Government has always expressed its commitment to the establishment of dry ports in the country as it is quite important for the country’s economy. The Inland Container Depots (ICDs) in Nigeria is a catalyst for Trade Stimulation and Economic Development.
The Inland Container Depots are expected to bring shipping services to the doorstep of shippers across the nation, assist in decongesting the seaports and make them more user friendly.
Other benefits include providing the impetus to revive and modernise the railway as a primary mode for long-distance haulage as well as to assist in the overall costs of cargo to hinterland locations and transit cargoes to landlocked countries.