The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) says it has resumed its freight services in Apapa Port with one return trip in and out of the seaport daily.
The Lagos Railway District Manager, Mr. Jerry Oche, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday that the resumption of freight shuttles in and out of the port had reduced pressure on the road.
According to Oche, no fewer than 38 trucks carrying 40-feet containers or 76 trucks carrying 20-feet containers are being removed from the road each day.
“We have resumed our freight shuttles but we are still struggling because the same standard gauge rail line construction, for which we earlier shutdown both passengers and freight services on narrow gauge line, is still ongoing.
“We are trying to manage the standard gauge rail line construction in Lagos axis and the narrow gauge operations.
“The shuttle is not the number we used to do when there was no standard gauge construction, but we must do this because even the standard gauge construction materials have to be moved on the narrow gauge.
“We also have other people’s containers-manufacturers, that we also need to bring out of the port and we also have exports that need to go into the port,” the NRC boss said.
He said that the corporation was running the freight services alongside its passenger’s trains on the narrow gauge line poised about improving the operations.
Oche said: “The beauty of this is that we do an average of one return trip to the port a day. A return trip for us is in and out.
“If we look at 40 feet containers, we are talking of 19 containers in (for exports) and 19 containers out (for the imports) each day. That is equivalent to 38 trucks off the road a day for now.
“It could also be 38-feet to 20-feet containers in and 38-feet to 20-feet containers out and that will give us 76 trucks moved off the roads.
“This is just a rough average of what we are doing daily and we hope that soon we will increase freight shuttles because there are many measures we are trying to put in place to improve our efficiency, “he said.
He said that before the shutdown late in 2019 for the construction of the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail line, the corporation was doing an average of two trips per day-two in and two out of the port.
Oche said that the corporation was working hard to increase the freight to four and also looking at the possibility of increasing it further.
He, however, said that port freight services were not solely about NRC, saying that the corporation had to work with other agencies such as Nigeria Customs Service and other port handlers to make the freight operations on rail line seamless.
“We take imports out of the port and return the empty containers back to the port.
“We also take exports in, that is the products going out of the country. Basically, these are what we are doing,” the NRC boss added.
He said that the corporation was ready to render freight services for all manufacturing industries in their imports and exports at the port.
Oche said that the corporation would try and meet every customer’s demand within its available capacity.