Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transport

The Minister of Transport, Chibuike Rotimi Ameachi has expressed confidence that the second segment of the Lagos – Kano Standard Gauge Rail System which would connect the Lagos Port Complex directly would enhance port efficiency.

The Minister, who spoke at the one-day National Conference on fast-tracking Ports Reforms in Lagos, disclosed that the project has already commenced.

“Efforts are on going by the Federal Government to link Nigeria’s ports and terminals to other modes of transport such as roads, air and rail to help in the realization of our noble objective of providing safe, reliable and efficient intermodal transportation system”.

He also informed port stakeholders that  Federal Government is in the process of establishment of Integrated Port and Maritime Data Centre which would generate reliable trade data that would be readily available to all agencies, operators and stakeholders at all times eliminating inherent abuses.

Meanwhile, Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Hadiza Bala Usman, who also spoke at the one-day event, expressed the need for an efficient rail system in moving agricultural produce and solid minerals from the locations of production which are mostly hinterland to the Nation’s seaports for export.

She said: “There is already a surge in export of agricultural produce as exemplified in frozen shrimps and prawns, sesame seed, cashew, soya beans and ginger amongst others.”

The Managing Director/ Editor in Chief of The Nation Newspapers, Mr. Victor Ifijeh called for immediate resolution of the problems be-labouring the Ports until realisable template with define timelines are reached.

Mr. Ifijeh added that in order to have a lasting success in the sector, agencies within the Ports need to harmonize their plans and carry along other stakeholders in the industry.

The Conference later broke into plenary sessions to discuss in more details the theme of the of the programme, which is: “Making Nigerian Seaports World Class”.

The Federal Government had in the last few years engaged in massive upgrade of existing rail facilities in the country, especially the old narrow gauge while building more standard gauge rails including the Lagos-Kano project.

Part of the reason for this is to make for more efficient and cheap transport system in the country for easy movement of goods and people as well as well as achieving a multi-modal transport systems for the nation’s seaports, which would connect other modes such as road, rail and air means of transportation.

Stakeholders have argued that achieving the multi-modal transport system would greatly enhance port efficiency, as it will reduce the cost of doing business and by so doing make the seaports more competitive..