By MIKE OCHONMA.
The minister of transportation, Saidu Alkali on Tuesday at the Apapa port complex inaugurated the first cargo movement from the Lagos-Ibadan rail corridor during his first official tour of the rail corridor.
The minister kicked off the tour at the Ebute Meta station before proceeding to Apapa for the launch, and subsequently travelled to Ibadan using the 157 km rail corridor. Three coaches of 30 wagons were loaded as the inaugural freight movement was kicked off.
According to the minister, ” We have three trips for now and that amount to 90 containers, by the time we complete the three tracks we will be having to decongest Apapa port of 270 containers been move per day, that is huge.”
The transportation minister declared that, the federal government will ensure that the existing contracts are being executed, adding that the vision of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led administration is to ensure that the transport sector is enhanced especially with the removal of the fuel subsidy so as to make the cost of transportation much easier for Nigerians and cost efficient.
On the issue of security, the minister said, “lmmediately I took over as minister I took briefing from ministry officials and the NRC, contractors and others, we are going to engage some security firms to ensure that the rail lines are well secured”.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) said it would start with three coaches per day with its managing director noting that, the corporation had the capacity to scale up the numbers.
This effort is expected to decongest the Apapa port as shippers moved 92.28 percent of Nigeria’s total exports and 60.77 percent of imports through the facility in the first quarter of 2022 (Q1’22).