WorldStage Newsonline– The Kaduna Inland Dry Port Limited inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari last year is far from realizing its full potential, no thanks to lack of functional rail and deplorable state of roads in the country.
The Port Manager, Mr. Rotimi Raimi said that the challenges had forced the cost of transporting cargoes from the Lagos seaport to the dry port to go up, a development that had hampered its operations.
Specifically, Raimi said the high freight cost could only be tackled if the Nigerian Railway Corporation can make the rail workable and provide enough locomotives and wagons for easy transportation of cargoes from the seaports in to the dry port.
He noted that the Kaduna Dry Port had all it took to make the state and indeed the entire north economically viable, saying “what makes Lagos economically vaible is the Murtala Mohammed International Airport and the seaports.”
He explained that with the Dry Port and the International Airport in Kaduna, the state ought to be a beehive of economic activities but for the high freight cost which has hampered the port operations.
The KIDP boss then appealed to the Federal Government to hasten up the provision of locomotives and freight wagons as promised for business to thrive at the port.
He said, “The reason why the shipping companies are a little bit negative in their actions toward the port is that they look at the high cost of freight.
“Assuming you pay Inland and ocean freights, Inland will pay for its own N150,000 but before the container will land here(Kaduna), it will be between N600,000 and N700,000. Who will pay the difference? This is our area of challenge.
“The only way this can be curb is through the Nigerian Railway Corporations. They should help us with more locomotives and wagons to carry cargoes from seaports.
“The rail can move about 20 to 30 containers at a go. All the NRC need to do is to make schedule movement of cargoes and it makes everything easier. If you go to South Africa and other developed countries, that’s how it is done.
“Though the Federal Government has promised that this year(2019), it will provide locomotives and wagons. If that is done, you will see that a lot of people will patronize us but at the moment, we are finding it difficult to get our goods out of the seaports.
“Presently, we are still using road. We cannot determine the price. Its only the NRC that cannot increase prices arbitrarily.”
Raimi also urged exporters in Kaduna State in particular and the North in general, to take the advantage of the dry port in the region.
He noted that the port would provide an easy way for the export of agricultural produce from the state(Kaduna) being ranked as the largest producer of ginger in the country to other parts of the world.
This, he added, would earn the exporters foreign currency which will boost the economy of the state and the region.
He commended the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai for his unflinching support and commitment toward upgrading infrastructures such the lights, roads in and out of the port.
“The Kaduna State Government has done their best being the host state. They provided lights, roads and they have done what is expected of them because without this support, the project couldn’t have been commissioned last year,” he said.
As part of future plan, he said, the management planned to have vehicle terminal at the port whereby importers of cars needed not to go to Lagos.
“So that those that are importing cars from abroad need not to go to Lagos. Those are future services we want to render to our customers,” he declared.