Gov. Nasir El-Rufai, of Kaduna State, has disclosed plans to send a delegation to the Republic of Niger to convince it to start receiving goods at the Kaduna Inland Dry Port rather than the Lagos seaports.
El-Rufai made his intentions known on Tuesday while speaking on the sidelines of the ceremony for the commencement of cargo delivery by rail to the Kaduna Inland Dry Port.
The governor, who was overjoyed at the commencement of the new delivery system, noted that the transportation of goods from the dry port and containers from the seaport in Lagos to Kaduna by rail was a confirmation that the inland dry port was functioning.
“We are very grateful today’s event has opened a new vista of commercial opportunities, not only for northern businessmen but even for our neighbouring countries.
“I intend to send a delegation to the Republic of Niger to sensitise the government of that country on the opportunities of receiving their goods in Kaduna instead of Lagos and having to truck them, as well as any of their exports from Kaduna port to any part of the world.”
“You can ship your goods directly from Kaduna to any part of the world and you can also import goods from any part of the world directly to Kaduna without your containers or any of your goods being opened up for inspection in Lagos,” he said.
The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council, Hassan Bello, in his remarks noted that with the commencement of cargo delivery by rail at the port, some of the challenges faced by importers and exporters would be address while a seamless movement of cargoes from the seaports in Lagos to Kaduna Inland Dry Port would be guaranteed.
“We are in preliminary discussion with the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council in London and we want to bring them to Kaduna so that they will know what value they can add to the dry port.
“We are talking with the Nigerian Railway Corporation to create more space for associated industries, for it is an industrial hub where things are also processed. We don’t want to be exporting raw materials without having them processed. So, there is also a need to improve on our packaging,” Bello explained as efforts taken to attract investors to the facility.
He also noted that the dry port may become a free trade zone, as the council had been in discussion with all relevant authorities to achieve the target.
“About 24,000 direct jobs will be created from this project. If we are able to connect the Niger Republic and Chad to use the port as the destination port for their cargoes, it will have a multiplier effect for Kaduna and its environs.
“We can then be able to decongest the ports in Apapa and Tincan Island and we won’t be having the gridlock we are experiencing now. It will take two days for the train to arrive from Lagos to Kaduna because we are using the old track, but we are improving and the movement must improve,” he said.