Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said the plan is for the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge to start operating from the Apapa seaport in January 2021 after the inauguration of the new line by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said there was a need for all stakeholders to cooperate with the project contractor, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), to ensure the delivery of the project ahead of the inauguration.
He spoke in Lagos against the backdrop of a recent disagreement between the CCECC and management of the APM Terminal over the demolition of some sections of the Lagos Port Complex to create room for the laying of rail track into the ports. But APM Terminal viewed this as impeding its operations.
The minister said he had already informed President Buhari about the inauguration arrangement, adding that the project must be completed up to the Apapa port terminal extension.
Amaechi was at the APM Terminal in the Apapa Port Complex in company with the Chairman of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Alhassan Musa; Managing Director of the NRC, Fidet Okhiria; his Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) counterpart, Hadiza Bala Usman.
He said there was no going back on the plan to inaugurate the new rail line in January 2021.
The minister said, “I have already told the President we are commissioning it in January. So there is already an answer and we are working towards that answer and we must achieve that time because the President is aware.
“By Monday, I am going to the President’s office to give them a date and it must be January. This is not a political statement and it is not going to be Ebute-Meta to Ibadan. No. What is critical is that we must find a solution to the gridlock. The moment we begin to move wagons from the seaports, at least to Ibadan, pressure on Lagos will reduce drastically and that is my objective.”
Amaechi directed the APM Terminal to allow the rail project contractor to access the construction area as contained in the project design.
The NPA MD also restated the directive for the APMT to cooperate with the contractor to work according to the project design and specifications.
She said it was not for the terminal operator to dictate to the government and insisted that everybody was duty bound to comply with the directive of the government to fast-track the construction work.
Abuja-Kaduna train resumes operation Saturday – NRC
Barely 24 hours after suspending the Abuja-Kaduna trains for safety reasons, the Nigerian Railway Corporation says the services will resume Saturday October 23.
The suspension followed an explosion attack by hoodlums on the Abuja-Kaduna rail track Wednesday evening, which the corporation said affected the locomotive tank of a Kaduna-bound train.
Although there have been conflicting accounts of the attack with some attributing it to bandit or terrorist attack, the Managing Director of the corporation said in an interview on Friday night that the NRC team of engineers and technicians had fixed the problem and was certified that the train service could resume on the route after carrying out extensive an inspection of the line.
The NRC also said in a statement issued Friday evening that the Abuja-Kaduna Train Services (AKTS) would “resume tomorrow, Saturday, 23rd October, 2021 as follows: From IDU, Abuja (AK3) at 0950am. From Rigasa, Kaduna (KA4) at 10.35am.”
The statement read in part, “The board and management of the Nigerian railway corporation (NRC) hereby inform the general public, particularly our valued passengers that Abuja-Kaduna Train Services (AKTS) resume tomorrow, Saturday, 23rd October, 2021 as follows: From IDU, Abuja (AK3) at 0950am. From Rigasa, Kaduna (KA4) at 10.35am. Subsequent train services continue.
“The NRC once again sincerely apologises for the inconvenience.”
Just in: Nigerian railway suspends Abuja-Kaduna train services over safety
The Nigeria Railway Corporation has announced the suspension of train services on the Abuja-Kaduna route.
It said on Thursday that the decision was taken for safety purposes after a section of the rail track was vandalised on Wednesday night.
Some Kaduna-bound passengers were reportedly forced to return to Abuja following the damage to the track.
An ex-senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani, had tweeted on Thursday that there was a bandit attack on an Abuja-Kaduna train he was travelling in and had a miraculous escape with other passengers.
But the Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) Mr Fidet Okhiria, said it was an attack by vandals on the rail track.
The corporation said in a statement on its website on Thursday that train services had been suspended on Abuja-Kaduna route for the safety of passengers and crew members.
It added that efforts were being put in place to ensure maximum safety along the route.
It also further information about the suspension would be conveyed to the public later.
Daily Trust reported that hundreds of passengers were stranded at Rigasa Railway Station in Kaduna on Thursday morning.
The report stated that most of the passengers that booked their train tickets online later resorted to travelling by road.
An NRC official at the station told the passengers that there was a problem with the train and so there would be no train.
Haulage cost drops as NRC resumes cargo movement to Kano, Kaduna dry ports
The Nigerian Railway Corporation has resumed the movement of cargoes in containers from Lagos to Kano and Kaduna dry ports, more than a year after it suspended the operations.
Managing Director of Inland Containers Nigeria Limited (ICNL), Ismail Yusuf, who stated stated this during an interview with journalists in Lagos, added that the cost of haulage had thus dropped by 50 per cent compared to what the road transporters charge.
In September 2020, the NRC suspended the movement of containers by rail from Apapa port for rehabilitation of the rail tracks.
Yusuf said about 40 containers had been moved so far, adding that 40 empty containers had been returned through the same mode to Lagos from the Kano and Kaduna inland dry ports.
Apart from cost reduction, he said the movement by rail would save time and ensure the safety of the consignments being moved by rail.
According to him, it will now cost a half of what is presently being spent on road haulage to move containers by rail.
According to him, the ICNL is still in talks with the NRC to deploy additional coaches to the port operation because his company has cargoes on the ground to be moved.
“As you know that the Federal Government is encouraging the Nigerian Railway Corporation to ensure movement of cargo from the seaport to the hinterland and this is very critical to our Kano-bonded terminal and Kaduna Inland Dry Port, which is our subsidiary company,” Yusuf said.
He also said, “The management of ICNL and Kaduna Dry Port has led the management of the railway corporation to discuss the modalities of how they can come back to life. We thank God that our request has been acceded to and this is the outcome of our discussion.
“Presently, they have supplied us with two rails for the last two weeks. We have moved about 40 containers, and this will continue every fortnight until we attain maximum capacity.
“The number of containers being moved also depends on the availability of locomotives, and as long as we have enough cargos to load.
“We have started from somewhere: from one to two rails and from there we can increase it to four or five rails.
“We are talking with NRC on how we can increase the capacity to meet the yearnings of customers who want to use the services of the rail corporation. Time spent on the movement is a minimum of 48 hours and a maximum of 72 hours.”
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