The China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) says the Lagos-Ibadan rail line has been fully connected to the Apapa port in Lagos.
The CCECC is the construction firm handling the over $1.6bn Lagos-Ibadan railway project currently on trial run and awaiting the official inauguration by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Chinese firm said in a statement on Monday that the linking of the port to the rail track was completed on Monday, January 25, 2020.
It said, “On the morning of January 25, 2021, with the successful pouring of the last 25-metre monolithic track-bed superstructure of Apapa port break bulk line, the Lagos-Ibadan railway was officially connected to the Apapa port in Lagos,” the statement said.
“The Apapa port spur line of Lagos-Ibadan railway starts from the Mobolaji Johnson Station, Ebute Metta and extends southward to Apapa port, with a total length of 8.72km.
“As a crucial channel linking the main line of the Lagos-Ibadan railway to the port, it has become an important transportation passage for the import and export of goods and now serves as a significant guarantee with regard to the comprehensive operational efficiency of the railway.”
The idea of extending the new standard gauge rail line to the Apapa port was an addendum to the project. It is meant to ease the Apapa gridlock by taking containers in and out of the port using the rail.
A terminal operator, APTM had initially had issues with the contractor, CCEECC, preventing the latter from penetrating the port on the account that the work was impeding port activities.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, had to lead a high-powered government delegation to the spot and ordered the terminal operator to cooperate with the Chinese contractor to enable it to deliver the project in January for the inauguration.
He had said, “I have a meeting with Mr. President on Monday and it is at that meeting that we would fix any day in January for Mr. President to commission this project. That is not debatable and that is why we must ensure that this work is delivered before then.”
The message was echoed by the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Bala Usman, as she told the APTM, “Why the minister is here is to enforce the presidential directive to get the rail tracks into Apapa. It is you that must build your operation round the construction work plan to ensure that your operations are not hindered and hampered by the construction of the standard gauge.
“The construction is of top priority to the government and all operators must ensure that we cooperate to get it done.”