NIGERIA’S main seaport at Apapa in Lagos State has been offered respite from the terrible gridlock that has characterised its operations for the last 20 or so years after the China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) revealed it has connected it by rail.
CCECC is the contractor building thee Lagos to Ibadan railway link and according to the company it has managed to connect the Apapa for with the rail network. By far Nigeria’s biggest port, Apapa has suffered from the fact that it has no rail link at the port, meaning trailers going to collect containers line the road rendering it impassable to other motorists.
This has created an environmental hazard with the port becoming one huge car park clogged with vehicles that churn out diesel fumes and have destroyed the road leading to Apapa. Designed to handle 22,000 tonnes of Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) containers, Apapa has a maximum annual capacity of 1.5m TEUs, leading to it constantly being plied by trailers.
Although several out of town cargo terminals have been built, they have been made redundant as they are not connected by rail. With the latest development, it is now hoped that the port will be connected to these freight terminals so trailers no longer need to come into Lagos metropolis.
According to CCECC the connection was done on January 25 following the successful pouring of the last 25-meter monolithic track bed superstructure of the Apapa Port Break Bulk Line. Apapa port handles the most number of inward cargoes in Nigeria, accounting for about 39% of total inward cargoes.
It is followed by Tin Can Island and Warri ports which account for 31% and 11% respectively, with Calabar port accounting for 4.29% of all imports. According to the CCECC, through nearly three years of unremitting efforts, the project is now progressing smoothly.
A CCECC spokesman said: “The Apapa Port Spur Line of Lagos-Ibadan Railway starts from the Mobolaji Johnson Station, Ebute Metta and extends southward to Apapa Port, with a total length of 8.72km. As a crucial channel linking the main line of the Lagos-Ibadan railway to the port, it has become an important transportation passage for the import and export of goods.
“Apapa Port Spur Line, passing through the old town of Lagos, was an extremely tough nut to crack because of its dense underground pipelines, high underground water level, complex geological conditions and numerous ground constructions. However, the project department made full preparations at the very beginning.”