Gridlock: Sanwo-Olu abandons Oshodi-Apapa expressway, as motorists, commuters lament plight

By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief

The traffic congestion in Apapa, Lagos is to ease significantly, in months as two of the six Inland Container Ports (ICDs) are to commence operations before May, this year.

The Acting Director-General of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Mr. Michael Ohiani, disclosed this, in Abuja, yesterday.

According to him, the decision for the two depots to urgently commence operations was reached at a meeting before the ICRC, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) and the concessionaires, the previous day.

The two are: and Dala Inland Dry Port, Kano with a capacity for 20, 000 Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEUs), and Funtua Dry Port, kastina State with 10, TEUs capacity.

The meeting, which was at the instance of the ICRC sought to find solutions to the factors hindering the completion of the dry ports whose contracts were signed since 2006.

Mr. Ohiani, noted that 16 years after the concession contracts were signed, some of the ICDs were still at 5 percent completion while only two had made appreciable progress.

Mr. Ohiani was quoted in a statement by Ag. Head, Media and Publicity, Manji Yarling, as saying, “We want to rub minds and come up with how we can make progress: what are the challenges taking into consideration that these projects have already gotten the President’s attention and more so, we need to decongest our seaports.”.

READ ALSO: Apapa gridlock: Lagos commences clearance operation today

The concessionaires blamed the delay on in the provision of land by state governments; lack of narrow gauge rail lines in and out of the dry ports which they noted was important to make the operation of the ports efficient; as well as, difficulties in accessing funds from banks.

In view of the delay in execution, the concessionaires stressed the need for a new agreement, pointing out that an agreement started in 2017 between them and the NSC but it was yet to be cleared by the Federal Ministry of Justice on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Transportation.

Mr. Usman Abbas, Managing Director of Equatorial Marine Oil and Gas Ltd informed the ICRC team that the Funtua port was already at over 85 per cent completion and was ready to launch before the end of the second quarter of 2022.

“We hope to commission this project before the end of the second quarter and the ports will become functional immediately. We are lucky to have great relationships in the shipping industry and  with major shipping lines.

Hon. Ahmed Rabiu, MD of the Dala Inland Dry Port Ltd., concessionaires of the Kano Inland Port also hinted that the construction of the container depot was already nearing completion. He assured that the company was working assiduously to ensure project completion and take off before the end of March 2022.

The other dry ports and their concessionaires are: Oyo state (Ibadan) with 50,000 Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEUs) by Catamaran Logistics Ltd; Abia State (Isiala Ngwa) with 50,000 TEUs by Eastgate Ltd; Plateau State (Jos) with 20,000 TEUs by Duncan Maritime Nig. Ltd; and Borno state (Maiduguri) with 10,000 TEUs by Migfo Nigeria Ltd.

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