18th February, 2011
Efforts by the Federal Government to bring port operations close to Nigerians in the hinterland through the introduction of Inland Container Depot (ICD)Â would be unsuccessful without the provision of rail model of transport, Senator Cosmas Niagwam has said.
Speaking at a one-day enlightenment seminar organised by the management of the Nigerian Shippersâ€™ Council (NSC), the former staff of the defunct National Maritime Authority (NMA), now Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), noted that it is almost impossible to move goods from the ports to these facilities without the railway system.
The senator explained that the only alternative available to move consignments to the ICDs is by road but noted that it is almost impossible to adopt the model of transport for the purpose. He pointed out that it would take about 50 trucks to move 50 containers from any of the port locations to the ICD in Jos.
He, however, stressed that in such a case, the 50 trucks would not arrive at Jos in one piece because some of the trucks may either be involved in accident or the security personnel that took part in the inspection would inform robbers who would attack the trucks on the way to theirÂ destination.
As a way out of the seeming delay in the take-off of the project, Nniagwa said there is need for the state government to set up a company in which the people of Plateau would have a stake. He further noted that the said company should be the one to discuss with the concessionaire (Duncan Maritime Services Limited) in its bid to fast-track the Jos ICD project.
It would be recalled that the Governor of Plateau State, Jonah David Jang, had earlier expressed the intention of the state government to have equity stake in the concession agreement between the Federal Government and Duncan Maritime Service Limited as a means of fast-tracking the Jos Inland Container Deport
The governor noted that his state has done all that is required of it as a host state, adding that the government and the Plateau people are eager to see the project becomes functional.