Worried about the slow pace of work at most of the Inland Dry Ports (IDPs) in the six geo-political zones of the country, as a result of paucity of funds, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) is currently working on assisting the concessionaires to attract investors and necessary funding.
The IDPs are also known as Inland Container Depots (ICDs),
The Council, it was gathered, is concerned that apart from the Kaduna IDP which has taken off since January last year, the rest are yet to be completed due to lack of funds.
To ensure that the concessionaires complete their projects as soon as possible, the Council has approached the Commonwealth Enterprise Investment Council (CWEIC) to be involved in the search for interested investors for the IDP projects.
It was gathered that the Executive Secretary, NSC, Mr Hassan Bello, recently visited the London office of the body which was established in 2014, to promote intra-commonwealth trade and investments across the 53 member countries.
CWEIC is responsible for organising the Commonwealth Business Forum alongside the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and Commonwealth Trade Ministers Meeting on alternative years.
Also recently, Bello led the management team of the Council to attend the Advisory Council Meeting of CWEIC held recently in Lagos, during which a lot of business opportunities across and beyond Nigerian were laid bare.
Specifically, the Council wants to attract investors from Commonwealth countries so that the remaining projects being handled by concessionaires can be completed as soon as possible.
Apart from IDP projects, the Council is also interested in getting investors for other transport sector infrastructure projects, such as Truck Transit Parks (TTP) and Border Information Centres.
Both the IDP and TTP projects are expected to have multiplier effects on the national economy, with thousands of jobs to be created when completed. The Council sees the dry port project as imperative to trade facilitation as it will enable shippers in the hinterland import and export without having to travel to Lagos seaports or other seaports for the process.
For instance, with the Kaduna IDP, importers in any part of the world who wish to use that dry port can do so by indicating it as Port of Destination for their goods instead of using Lagos seaport.
Similarly, businessmen from that zone who have goods to export can use the dry port without having to go through Lagos seaport.
The current scenario is that apart from the Kaduna IDP, other dry ports projects located in Kano, Jos Plateau State, Isiala Ngwa, Abia State, Borno, Maiduguri, Kaduna and Ibadan have been delayed due to funding issues.
The concessionaires include Duncan Maritime Ltd – Jos; Eastgate Inland Container Terminal Ltd – Isiala Ngwa – Abia; Dala Inland Dry Port – Kano; Migfor Nigeria Ltd – Maiduguri; CatamaranLogistics Ltd – Ibadan; Equitorial Marine Ltd – Funtua. There are also another IDPs at Olorisa Oko, Ibadan and Benin, Edo state.