By Oluwakemi Ishola
The Federal Government is in the advanced stages of finalising a contractual agreement with China Railway Construction Corporation Limited (CRCC) to build the Ibadan Dry Port at the sum of N43.24 billion after over two decades of foot dragging.
In 2006, the Federal Government, granted approval for the establishment of six inland container depots and container freight stations across the country. The ICD project was conceived by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) as a solution to the problem of port congestion.
Having noticed the uninspiring approach of Federal Ministry of Transportation on the projects, Senator Folarin as Senate Leader, in 2007, moved a motion urging the FG to sign all papers and ensured the realization of the projects at the earliest time possible.
According to the federal lawmaker, the establishment of inland dry ports would not only bring shipping to the door step of the importing public but also lead to economic development of Oyo State and Nigeria. “The Ibadan inland container depot has capacity for 50,000 containers. Erunmu dry port will undoubtedly create thousands of jobs to our skilled and unskilled unemployed youths in Oyo State” Folarin said.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) said in a statement on Saturday in Lagos that the 80,000 TEU capacity dry port would be built on the basis of Public Private Partnership.
Mrs Rakiya Zubairu, NSC Head of Public Relations, said in the statement that CRCC was the preferred bidder for the facility aimed at addressing congestion and gridlocks in Apapa ports.
Zubairu noted that the NSC would be the guarantor to the concession of the project.
She added that the facility would be designated as port of destination where cargo would be consolidated for import and export, especially in the South-Western part of Nigeria.
“Among other uses, the dry port will provide a competitive cargo sorting centre, bulk breaking as well as cargo-tracking and truck management services. The Lagos-Kano standard gauge railway currently under construction is aligned to the proposed dry port, making it easy to convey cargo from the seaports in Lagos and to all destinations along the route.
“The negotiations emphasised the utilisation of local content at each stage of development and operation of the facility,” she said.
According to Zubairu, an updated Full Business Case Compliance report’’ will be produced at the end of the ongoing negotiations.
Afterwards, a draft agreement would be presented to the Federal Ministry of Justice and sent to the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, (ICRC) for vetting, after which the Minister of Transportation would present the agreement to the Federal Executive Council.
She said that the concessionaire would then be taken to the site for sod-turning and immediate commencement of construction with a completion timeline of 12 months.
“The negotiation was moderated by the Federal Ministry of Transportation led by the acting Permanent Secretary and the Director, Maritime Services, Auwalu Suleiman.
“The Director-General of ICRC, Mr Chidi Izuwa. Amb. Jummai Katagum, who represented the Federal Ministry of Finance was also part of the 4-day negotiation.
“Also present, was Mrs Olubamiwo Adeosun, Secretary to Government of Oyo State and the preferred bidder CRCC was led by Deputy Managing Director, Jacques Liao,” Zubairu added.
She said that NSC Executive Secretary, Hassan Bello, expressed satisfaction with the proceedings as all parties expressed firm commitment to the actualisation of the project.
According to the NSC Spokesperson, facilitation of the meeting was enabled by the transaction advisors, Aminu Dikko and Mohammed Kumalia, adding that the negotiations would be concluded soon.
Recall that the 7 approved locations for Inland Container Depots (ICDs) and Container Freight Stations (CFSs) were concessioned to private sector operators by the ICD Implementation Committee of the Federal Ministry of Transportation as follows: “IsialaNgwa, Aba – East gate Inland Container Terminal Ltd.; Erunmu, Ibadan – Catamaran Logistics Ltd.; Heipang-Jos – Duncan Maritime Ltd.; Zawachi-Kano – Dala Inland Dry Port.; Zamfarawa- Funtua – Equatorial Marine Ltd.; Jauri-Maiduguri – Migfor Nigeria Ltd.; ICNL-Kaduna – Commissioned.