The Nigerian Shippers Council has said that the various Inland Container Depots would in addition to facilitating movement of import and export goods within the country, would also contribute significantly to the growth and development of the economies of the hinterland states where they are located.

Executive Secretary/CEO of the council, Mr. Hassan Bello, who led the Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Ameachi and top management staff of Duncan Nigeria limited, the concessionaire in charge of the Heipang, Jos ICD project during an inspection tour, said that the government through the council is more than ever committed to the takeoff of the ICDs this year.

According to him, it was in line with the desire of the council to bring shipping services to the shippers (importers and exporters) in the hinterland areas scattered across the six geo=political zones of the country that necessitated the establishment of the ICDs, which have the status of a dry port.

“It is because of the economic benefits of the ICDs to the host states in particular and the Nigerian economy in general that inspired Shippers Council to come up with the project”, Bello said.

He identified the creation of employment opportunities for the youths as one of the very important economic benefits for the states where the ICDs are sited.

“Apart from this, ICDs were aimed at bringing the ports closer to the people in the hinterlands thereby help in boosting the economies of the communities as well as reduce the difficulties encountered in international trade processes”, he also said.

Bello however assured that the Federal Government was fully committed to the ICDs, adding that this informed the decision of the Minister of Transport to travel all the way from Abuja by road for four hours for the inspection of the site.

Meanwhile, Managing Director of the Duncan Group of Companies, Dr. Godfrey Bawa Shitgurum had while speaking during the tour said that the ICD when fully operational, will be a game changer for the economies of the North East States.

According to him, the Heipang ICD would enhance the growth and development not only of the economy of Plateau but also those of the North Central states, including FCT Abuja and the North East states.

He said: “The Jos Dry Port facility will bring internal trade to the states, lower freight rates, earn foreign exchange and create multi-modal transport system”.

The Duncan boss therefore called on the Federal and State Governments to intervene in the provision of internal road network, water supply and electricity into the ICD while appealing to the Shippers Council to facilitate the signing of Government Support Approval GSA, to guarantee the state government’s continued support for the project.

He also argued that the success of the project would depend on the availability of rail tract connection to it and therefore urged the Federal Government to intervene in the construction of rail siding in the ICDP, while the Minister of Transport was also implored to use his good office to fast track the gazetting of the Jos ICD as a Dry Port of Origin and Destination.

Shitgurum however commended the Executive Secretary and officials pf the council for the various roles they played in ensuring the project succeeds.

It was gathered that the ICD has a land mass of 33.7 hectares and has the capacity to handle 20, 000 Twenty Equivalent Units TEUs, which experts believe will be a game changer in the economic architecture of the region.

The experts also believe that apart from generating revenue to the states and Federal Government, the dry port will create employment, opportunities, expand economic value chain and open up new business opportunities to the citizens..