The General Manager of the Kaduna Inland Dry Port, Rotimi Hassan-Raimi, said on Tuesday that the port has not become fully operational, three years after it was commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to Mr Hassan-Raimi, who spoke in Abuja at the interactive session organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Customs, the railway services needed by the port was not efficient enough.
He stated that most shipping companies were yet to recognise the inland dry port, hence, “they seldom give the bill of laden for cargoes destined for it.”
Mr Buhari had commissioned the port in 2018 and promised it would help decongest the port in Lagos.
Mr Hassan-Raimi said the port will need five locomotives and 100 wagons to ensure full operation.
He also harped on the need for incentives to be given to shippers to bring cargo to Kaduna instead of taking it to Lagos and other seaports in the south.
“Since 2018, we have not been able to commence full dry ports. Kaduna is the first full dry port, and others are still coming. There should be a process by which dry inland ports should operate. We need at least five locomotives and 100 wagons for us to operate,” he said.
“The shipping companies should encourage shipping activities to thrive by sending their services to commence documentation processes for cargo destined for Kaduna Inland dry port by issuing true bill of lading. The essence of the dry port is to decongest the ports and bring shipping services to the internal shippers, this has not been done. Most of our customers in the north, particularly in Kaduna and Kano, do ask the shipping lines that their cargos should be destined to Kaduna, but the shipping companies said the recognised ports are Apapa Port and Port Harcourt and they don’t recognise the dry inland port.
“When you look at the landing cost, you will see that a shipper will prefer Lagos, rather than bring it to a dry port. It takes the clearing agent two to three days to capture and do everything, but on our end, it takes weeks. I expect the NPA to do something, because there must be incentives, to encourage the shipping companies to have their cargo destined for the dry port. Because when you look at shipping companies charging container deposit for containers destined for north……. but it has not gotten to the final destination and they are charging container deposit, for what? And containers that have not gotten to Kaduna, and you are charging demurrage. All these are not supposed to be.
“The Kaduna port was commissioned on the 4th January 2018 by Mr President, since then we have not been able to fully commence operation. A dry port is a port of destination and port of origin, that has never been in practice. In essence, the rail—we have the rail connected to the terminal, and the rail has not been sufficient enough, lack of wagon, lack of locomotive.”
Also speaking on challenges facing the Onne Port, the General Manager, West Africa Container Terminal, Ogbuji Innocent, said the road leading to the Onne port was in a bad condition and that it was affecting the flow of traffic at the port.
“We have the issue of Onne-Eleme East-West road. It is actually in a bad state. This has increased the trunk holding time, because it takes more time for trunks to navigate the port. If that road is rehabilitated, it will improve the time it takes for trunks to pass,” he said.
The committee chairman, Leke Abejide (ADC, Kogi), adjourned its session for two weeks.
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