By Kenneth Jukpor
The Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi has warned the incoming leadership of the Oyo State Government that the emerging Ibadan Inland Dry Port (IIDP) could usher in traffic congestion similar to Apapa port environs in Lagos State.
The Minister who was speaking during the handover ceremony of the dry port and exchange of letters at the Oyo State Governor’s office, Ibadan, yesterday admonished the incoming Government to tar the roads linking the proposed dry port to the city.
Amaechi who also commended the Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi for finishing his second stint as governor strongly, stressed that the poor road network from the dry port to the city would lead to immense traffic gridlock in the State.
Meanwhile, the Minister applauded the communities between Lagos and Oyo States, as well as both State Governments for their immense support for the Lagos-Ibadan rail construction.
“The Ministry never experienced any confrontation on the rail line from Lagos to Ibadan. I hope the owners of the land for the proposed dry port have been duly settled. We don’t want confrontation from indigenes after the IDP construction commences”, Amaechi said.
Although industry experts have expressed uncertainty on the ability of the Ibadan dry port to generate sufficient cargoes to service the facility; the Oyo State Governor shared Amaechi’s optimism on potential business traffic in the state as a result of the port.
Reacting to the Transport Minister’s fears that Ibadan metropolis could become a traffic disaster like Apapa, the Oyo Governor, Senator Ajimobi stressed that he would rather have a gridlock engineered by increased business activities in the State; than one caused by thugs.
“In his remarks, the Minister talked about the gridlock that would likely be consequential to the IDP. However, I want to assure the Minister that we would rather have the goodluck of gridlock of commerce, progress and development; than a gridlock of hunger and thuggery which we are eliminating in Oyo State” Ajimobi said.
Earlier the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) Mr. Hassan Bello said the IDP project was conceived as part of the Federal Government’s ports reform programme designed to decongest the seaports while also taking shipping and port services closer to importers and exporters in the hinterland.
Bello noted that the proposed project was strategically placed for the development of the Oyo State economy especially as the State had enormous agricultural produce for export.
He stressed that the IDP would be a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement on a project site approximately 90 hectares of land located at Olorisa-Oko on the Iseyin-Ibadan road corridor.
“The nearly 875 KM Standard gauge railway line currently under construction is in its planned alignment. The IDP has a modular design with annual 40,000 TEUs capacity. The proposed IDP facility shall comprise of a container Freight station with an adjacent stuffing and stripping area that also serves as customs inspection zone, a loading /unloading area for trucks carrying Less than Container Load (LCL) cargo, an equipment parking area dedicated for maintenance and repair activities, and a container interchange including a truck parking area outside of the IDP boundary” Bello said.
The Executive Secretary assured that the project estimated to cost $99,665,626 at the time the Outline Business Case (OBC) was prepared, would provide all container handling and storage services that a port typically offers.
“It shall be equipped with modern reach stackers and tractor trailer units for container handling and horizontal transport and will be connected to the national road and rail networks” he added.
The NSC boss commended the Oyo State Government as a worthy partner in the endeavour, assuring that the Council was committed towards the actualization of the project.