ICDs to check ports congestion, reduce unemployment, says Transportation Minister

Transportation Minister, Mr Rotimi Amaechi
 The Transportation Minister, Mr Rotimi Amaechi has said that the Inland Container Depots (ICDs) located in the six geo-graphical parts of the country will address the issue of perennial congestion in the seaports that has lasted over the years.

Amaechi also said that the ICDs, known as dry ports and the planned Truck Transit Parks (TTP), will equally generate a lot of employment for many Nigerians in their various locations.

The ICDs which were approved by the Federal Executive Council in 2006 under the Build Own Operate and Transfer (BOOT) basis and truck transit parks are to be supervised by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC).

The Minister said that in addition to the six gazetted facilities, Kaduna Inland Container Nigeria Ltd (ICNL) depot upgrade was approved in April 2011.

Speaking in Kaduna during a sensitization seminar on dry ports organized by the NSC and the ICNL, Amaechi said dry ports were conceived as part of the solution to the problem of hinterland shippers’ inadequate access to the seaports and frequent congestion.

On the dry port in Kaduna run by ICNL, he said it would have the potential benefit of not only reducing transport cost and bringing shipping to the door steps of the shipper, but would also generate employment opportunities to the teeming people of Kaduna and boost the local and national economy.

He described the planned truck parks in the state and other parts of the country as a good project which would check carnage and accidents on the land mode.

Amaech called on the stakeholders who attended the seminar for collaboration for the project to succeed.

He said, “I am happy to observe that the NSC is already collaborating with the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Nigerian Ports Authority and the Nigerian Customs to ensure that it succeeds.”

Executive Secretary, NSC, Mr Hassan Bello, in his opening remark on the occasion, described the emergence of ICDs and truck transit parks as part of the port reform programme introduced in the country some years back.

Bello said ICDs had a lot of benefits and would be fundamental to boosting export and import business in the country.

He said ICD project has direct benefits in replicating port economy in the hinterland.
Bello who said his Council would work hard to see the success of the Kaduna ICD, truck transit park and others yet to take-off, commended the ICNL for the upgrade of its terminal that led to its recognition.

He also commended the Kaduna State Government for provision of the infrastructure that to make the project succeed.

The Kaduna dry port, he said, would succeed, adding that it would increase the internally generated revenue (IGR) and lead to more employment creation in the state.

The Chairman, ICNL, Mr Temitope Borishade said that after due process, ICNL terminal in Kaduna was recommended for approval to be upgraded to the status of an ICD with a capacity of 5,000 TEUs.

Borishade added that with the completion of the upgrade, the Federal Government in its official gazette in 2015 granted approval to the Kaduna ICD to operate as a Port of Origin for both export and import.

The dry port, Borishade said, would be operated as a joint venture with the Kaduna State Government, adding that ICNL was now better equipped to bring shipping services to the hinterland and landlocked neighbouring countries.

He said ICNL was currently meeting with international communities, shipping companies, the Customs, NSC and other agencies in the quest to actualize the project.

He also disclosed that the company had the capacity to handle 29,000 containers per annum.