NPA seeks more rail coaches for ease of cargo movement

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has sought the provision of increased number of railway coaches to facilitate easy movement of cargoes in and out of the ports, linking the hinterlands.

Managing Director of the NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, said this while briefing newsmen on the forth-coming International Association of Ports and Harbours(IAPH) Africa Regional Conference.

In line with the focus of the conference, which is to address the need for connecting Africa’s ports and the hinterland for efficient service delivery and improve trade, the NPA MD said the rail lines at the Apapa port were underutilized.

She said: “We actually have rail evacuation straight to the port moving fertilizer, but Nigerian rail does not have carriages, does not have the number of coaches required.”

She lamented that with several tank farms in Apapa the evacuation of liquid bulk was not being done using pipelines, rather the port access roads kept bearing the burden of over utilization and suffering perpetual gridlock.

Speaking on the efforts to clear the Apapa gridlock, which has for a long time now caused difficulties in the movement of cargo, Bala Usman said the Ministry of Works would soon commence the construction of the shore protection of the trailer park it is building close to the Tin-can Island port.

She, however, said that the President had recently directed that the ongoing rail rehabilitation and expansion should ensure that all ports are linked to the rail, which was not so before.

The MD also said that the NPA had made submissions to the ministry of works to prioritize the linkage of the access roads to port locations.

In the same vein, the Authority is working to ensure the utilization barges for movement of cargoes through the inland waterways.

According to Ms Bala Usman, it will entail the National Inland Waterways Authority prioritizing its operational capacity dredging some of the river ports to ensure maintained channels for safe navigation.