NPA MD seeks stronger rail, seaport connectivity


L-R: The Technical Director, ARTF, Gabon, Jean-Aime Nzegengui, The Ambassador of Belgium, His Excellence, Daniel Dargent the Managing Director, National Port Authority of Liberia, Bill Twehway, the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, the Director General, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Engr. Chidi Izuwah, Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Engr. Fidel Okhiria, Director Operations, National Railway Corporation (NRC), Niyi Alli, during the West African Ports and Rail Evolution Conference and Exhibition in Lagos.

Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Hadiza Bala Usman has cautioned that no country should contemplate establishing Port without the complement of adequate rail transportation.
She said rail transportation and linkages shall continue to be vital to port operation, as she cited the case of Nigeria’s experience where ineffective port-railway infrastructure has affected effective port operations.

Ms Bala Usman was delivering a welcome address at the beginning of the West Africa Rail Revolution Conference in Lagos on Sunday, which drew participants from several European and West Africa countries.

She said: “If anyone had any doubts as to the clog that poor railway infrastructure could be in the wheels of effective Port operations, the challenges that we currently face with the Lagos Port Complex (LPC) and the Tin-Can Island (TCIP) will instruct you about why no country will contemplate establishing Ports without the complement of adequate Rail Transportation.

“The truth is that, a substantial part of the challenges that we face in the optimization of the ports in Lagos area, which has even extended to distort normal activities of Lagos is because of the failure to provide adequate rail infrastructure in the first instance and the failure eventual dilapidation of the meagre structure that was available at the beginning.”

The MD stressed the need for operators of the ports across the African Continent to embrace the economic benefit of the sector as a key player in the growth and development of their country’s economies within the sub- Saharan Africa.

She was of the view that would take place only through the collaboration in the sharing of experience at resolving complex issues.

She informed the conference delegates that the Federal Government was working towards a more efficient port terrain through the deployment of modern rail infrastructure, and urged all the delegates to embrace the new agenda and explore all possible  towards advancing it.

While welcoming delegates to the two-day event, Engr. Chidi. K. C Izuwah, Director General /Chief Executive Officer under the Presidency Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, reiterated the need for African Countries to ensure that adequate provision is made in the area of port infrastructure.

He said the developed nations of the world had overtime emphasised on developing their infrastructure, which would further enhance import port operation and efficient delivery across board.

The theme of the conference tagged “Defining the future of the transport infrastructure, maintenance and expansion in West Africa” drew participants of the maritime sector within the continent of Africa and beyond.