Despite the completion of the $1.6bn standard gauge rail and it’s subsequent connection to the Lagos Port in July 2022 to aid seamless evacuation of cargoes from the ports by rail, findings have revealed that a lack of completion of the major access road linking the Moniya train station in Ibadan has meant that no single container has been moved out of the Lagos Port via the standard gauge rail since the project completion.
Checks by revealed that the standard gauge rail which was extended to the Lagos Port solely to help decongest the port by moving containers to Ibadan, is yet to lift a single container from the nation’s busiest port of Apapa.
According to findings, the rail project which was expected to reach the Lagos Port quay and eradicate truck involvement during cargo discharge from vessels, has not reached the port quay despite a Federal Ministry of Transportation directive to connect the port quay to the rail some two years ago.
Aside the fact that the standard gauge rail has not reached the port quay side, the rail is yet to be opened for container freight, thereby leaving the port to rely heavily on road haulage of cargoes due to a lack of commensurate amount of capacity on the narrow gauge rail.
Speaking on the development, a port worker who wouldn’t want his name in print as he is not authorised to speak on the matter explained that the standard gauge rail, even though already inside the port, is not been used to evacuate cargoes as the NRC is yet to give a go-ahead for such operations.
“We are still using the narrow gauge, that’s the old rail line to evacuate cargoes from the port at the moment. Sometimes, we do two trips in a week, but it’s slow and cannot carry the number of containers that the standard gauge can carry.
“But we hope to start cargo evacuation via the standard gauge rail very soon. We are just waiting for the nod from the NRC to start.”
When the Lagos District Manager of the NRC, Engineer Augustine Arisa was called on why no single cargo has been moved from the Lagos ports via the $1.6bn standard gauge rail since completion in 2022, he explained that a lack of access road completion in Ibadan train station delayed the operationalisation of the standard gauge rail from the port.
“We will soon be starting cargo operations on the $1.6bn Standard guage rail. The reason why it delayed up till now has to do with lack of completion of the access road at Moniya train station in Ibadan.
“Unlike passenger operations, cargo operations require a dedicated access road for trucks to move containers out of the train station when they arrive.
“The access road was not completed as at when due, that is why we have not started container operation on the standard gauge.
“However, we are almost completing the access road and I can assure you that cargo evacuation will soon commence on the rail in no distant time,” the NRC Lagos District Manager said.Follow us on social media