Kano, Abia ICDs to start work in December
- Kaduna to begin operations in November
- Obaseki receives report on Gelegele seaport
By Kenneth Jukpor
Few months after the Federal Government signed a new agreement with the concessionaires of the Inland Container Depots(ICDs) also called Dry Port projects in the country with a two-year time frame to begin operations or lose their licences, several ICDs have made appreciable progress with promising signs to start operations and construction before the end of 2017.
However, the concessionaires of the Ibadan ICD project, Catamaran Logistics Limited may lose their licence having failed to secure any investor for the project despite the expression of interest by some investors, including the Chinese construction giant, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), which finally got the privilege of developing another ICD in Ibadan from the Federal Government. With the information that a state cannot host two ICD facilities, automatically, the earlier licence granted Catamaran Logistics Limited will be revoked.
This development is coming as the Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi edges closer to two-year stint with the development of dry ports high on his wish list for 2017.
While speaking during an exclusive chat with MMS Plus on Friday last week, the Port Manager of the Kaduna Inland Container Depot, Mr. Rotimi O. Raimi told our correspondent that the port was set to kick-off next month even as he revealed that several importers and freight forwarders have started using the dry port as their preferred port of destination.
“We have commenced test-running. Customers have started booking to ensure that their cargoes are destined to Kaduna ICD. Some of these transactions may not be done until the next two months but I can tell you that by the end of November the Kaduna dry port would have kicked-off. We have a massive warehouse of about 4,000 square meters capacity, examination bays, and a one-stop-shop where you can make your entry and conclude your documentations on that day; we equally have a banking hall and several banks have expressed interest to establish a branch there” Rotimi said.
He also revealed that the Ministry of Transportation had also promised the port through the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) that by the end of December they would have all facilities in place to operate the rail line.
“The government has already concessioned the rail track. This would go a long way to enable us achieve the desired result at the Kaduna port. You cannot compare the charges for freight on rail and the roads. The rail is cheaper and the government is trying to reduce the cost of things to the barest minimum and it is easier to evacuate cargoes from the ports using the rail rather than spending 3-5 days on the roads. We are looking forward for patronage because as the first dry port in Nigeria, all eyes are on Kaduna” he added.
However, Rotimi could not confirm if cargoes have been transiting from Lagos to Kaduna neither could he disclose the number in tonnes of cargoes that have been ordered from the bookings by customers who have placed the Kaduna ICD as their port of destination.
Meanwhile, the operators of the Kano ICD have also revealed that they have gone into serious relationship with Chinese shipping giants, Compagnie Maritime d’Affrètement (CMA).
The Chairman of Dala Inland Dry Port Nigeria Limited, Kano, Alhaji Ahmed Rabiu told our correspondent that the CMA CGM Group which receives delivery of some of the largest ship in its fleet in terms of capacity, had assured that Kano dry port would become the transshipment hub for cargoes destined for the northern part of the country.
“CMA has assured us that all the cargoes destined to the North CMA would route their consignments through the Kano ICD” Rabiu said.
Rabiu equally expressed optimism that construction at the Kano dry port would kick-off before the end of the year. He did not explain the kind of relationship he has gone into with the new partner.
Similarly, the success story has also been recorded at Isiala Ngwa in Abia state where the ICD with a capacity of 50,000 TEUs has made modest developments and the former Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Mr. Kingsley Usoh who is also a consultant to the Isiala Ngwa ICD, also told MMS Plus that contractors would commence work at the port by December.
Usoh equally expressed joy that the fund for developing the ICD was coming from foreign banks as the operators have been able to attract foreign sponsorship for the project.
Other ICDs such as the Heipang ICD in Plateau State and the Ibadan Inland Container Depot (ICD) at Erunmu are also making appreciable progress.
These projects are facilitated by Nigerian Shippers’ Council, as the port economic regulator, to be implemented under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
Recall that in November 2016, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Barr. Hassan Bello had stated that the Federal Government expected two or three Inland Container Depots (ICDs) functioning by 2017.
According to Hassan Bello, the Federal Government sees the development of ICDs as a viable tool for diversifying the nation’s economy in order to generate more revenue for the nation.
However, Hassan Bello also stressed that the government was ready to revoke the license of any concessionaire who wasn’t making appreciable progress, stating that the licenses had been issued 14 years ago.
In another development, Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki has received the technical report on the proposed Gelegele Seaport, which is envisioned to serve as a key artery for the state’s economic diversification efforts.
The Governor received the report at the Government House, Benin City, on Wednesday, last week, from the Technical Committee on the actualization of the Gelegele Sea Port, led by its Chairman, Engr. Greg Ero.
Obaseki commended the committee for a thorough job and noted that the project was a critical infrastructure in the state. He stressed the role of water transportation as a major contributor to the state’s economic activity, noting that moving goods through the waterways remain one of the fastest means to grow the economy.
According to him, the Gelegele seaport is essential in view of the incoming investment to the state, as the setting up of a seaport would enhance the evacuation of agricultural produce in a cost-efficient manner to both the local and global markets.
He said the move to establish the port is apt and in line with the Federal Government’s economic recovery plan, which stipulates that states develop economic plans that will stimulate exportation.
“We have travelled to various countries, especially Asia, to attract investment that will revamp our competitive advantage in oil palm and rubber. Edo State is a logistic hub for this country. From here, goods can be efficiently moved to various states and distributed across the country”, the Governor said.
Noting that the state government would ensure that the report guides the implementation of the project, he said, “As a government, we want to assure you that the report is critical. We will immediately commence work on the recommendation and seek expert impute in building an infrastructure of this magnitude.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the committee, Engr. Ero said his team worked on the terms of reference it was given to prepare a report on the port that would open Edo up to the world.
“We visited Gelegele community, relevant offices and locations. We gathered information and data from various sources, including reports on previous assignment commissioned by the Federal Government on Gelegele”, he said.
Ero said the committee took a holistic view of the project and addressed in great details, the location of seaport, sea route to the Atlantic Ocean, and critical issues of port viability required to pass a business case test.