NIGERIA’S federal government and the China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) have entered into negotiations over the construction of an Ibadan inland dry port as part of an ongoing plan to ease the congestion at Apapa.
Groaning under the weight of limited capacity, Nigeria’s Apapa port in Lagos handles about 70% of imports into the country and as a result suffers from terrible congestion. Apart from the fact that this leads to serious delays in getting cargoes cleared, the roads that lead to the p[ort are also heavily congested, creating an environmental headache.
Government officials have long looked at dredging other ports along the Nigerian Atlantic coastline to ease the congestion at Apapa. None of Nigeria’s other coastal ports like Warri, Port Harcourt or Calabar have the depth to handle large cargo ships or Panamaxes, so will need substantial investment to become available.
One other option the Nigerian government has been looking at is building inland ports and Ibadan has been chosen as a site for one. Negotiations between the government and the CRCC are said to be nearing completion, which will lead to the construction of a 80,000 20-foot equivalent unit capacity dry port to be built on the basis of public-private partnership agreement.
Nigerian Shipping Council spokesman Rakiya Zubairu, said that on completion, the facility would help address the problem of port congestion and gridlock in Apapa, Lagos. She added that the Ibadan facility would be designated a port of destination where cargo would be consolidated for import and export, especially in the south-western part of Nigeria.
Ms Zubairu said: “Among other uses, the dry port will provide a competitive cargo sorting centre, bulk breaking as well as cargo-tracking and truck management services. This project, which has been estimated at $94m (N43.24bn), will boost employment in Oyo State and other cities in the environs.”
She added that the Lagos-Kano standard gauge railway, currently under construction, was aligned to the proposed dry port, making it easy to convey cargo from the seaports in Lagos and to all destinations along the route. Also, the NSC said the negotiations emphasised the utilisation of local content at each stage of development and operation of the facility.