The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) says it moved over 3,360 containers from the Apapa port to Ebute Metta and Ijoko in Ogun last year.
NRC Lagos District Manager, Jerry Oche, told newsmen on Wednesday in Lagos that the freight service had helped in reducing the influx of trucks and articulated vehicles at the port.
“We have transported about 3,360 containers from Apapa to Ebute Metta and Ijoko in Ogun, depending on the agreement with the owner.
“The service consists of movement of containers from Apapa to various district offices where the articulated vehicles could start transporting them to their various destinations.
“The shuttle services run a number of trains into the port and bring out goods to decongest the port.
“We run about three trains a day, each carrying about 20 containers to relieve the congestion at the port,’’ the NRC official said.
The district manager noted that the major challenge confronting the rail freight service was the inability to meet up with the demand of customers.
Oche said that the corporation needed more wagons and locomotives to enable it meet up with the number of freight ready to be transported at the port.
“Presently about 18,000 metric tons of pipes are waiting at the port to be transported by NRC to Osogbo, Osun State.
“The demand keep increasing every day; our major challenge is capacity to meet up in terms of wagons, locomotives engines and trained personnel to run the trains,’’ he said.
The NRC official said that the Lagos-Kano-Kaduna shuttle was suspended for three months in 2017 due to Jebba-Mokwa washout by heavy rainfall.
A beneficiary, Alhaji Abubakar Sanusi, said he had partnered with NRC on the rail freight service in the past 12 years.
Sanusi, Chief Executive, Gamji Group of Companies told newsmen that maximising rail freight would open the hinterland for business.
“The mass movement of containers will tackle the challenges of high cost of goods and services because it is cheaper, safer and reliable, thus having positive effect on the cost of goods and services.
“The rail freight service will also save the government from constant road repairs and preserve the roads from unnecessary pressure and damage,’’ he said.