APM Terminals Apapa and Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) have restored the evacuation of containers by rail from the Lagos Port Complex Apapa as part of efforts to decongest the roads.
In a statement issued, on Tuesday by APM Terminals, Nigeria’s largest container terminal operator, the company said it originally restored the rail service in 2013 running three times per week to Kano and Kaduna.
The General Manager, External Affairs of APM Terminals Apapa, Daniel Odibe, in the statement, said the terminal and the NRC have developed a new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), which would bridge the communication gap and ultimately lead to more efficient cargo evacuation by rail.
He said the new SOP was facilitated by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC).
“We wish to thank the Nigerian Shippers Council for facilitating this Standard Operating Procedure directed at improving service delivery to shippers and consignees. This is an important milestone for the port. It is something we have always asked for. We want to have a Standard Operating Procedure for receiving trains into the terminal and servicing them. It definitely helps planning when you have adequate information ahead of time,” Odibe said.
He said with the closure of a section of the Apapa Bridge for repair works, the resumption of cargo evacuation by rail will help in reducing the backlog of cargoes at the port.
He said: “Our intention when we constructed the rail line in 2013 and connected it to the national line was to provide alternate mode of evacuation of cargoes to customers. So coming together to improve on the number of containers that we evacuate by rail line is coming at the best time with the bridge closure. It will take away some trucks from the road.”
Lagos District Manager of NRC, Engr. Jerry Oche, said, “A train is made up of 19 wagons and each of the wagons can take one 40feet or two 20feet containers. So, if we are doing 40feet, that is 19 trucks off the road and if it is 20feet, that is 38 trucks off the road per trip. We are starting with two trips per day and we hope to increase it in no distant time.”
Also speaking, Director, Regulatory Services of Nigerian Shippers Council, Ifeoma Ezedinma, said: “This will help decongest our road because we now have multimodal transport – access to road, waterways and the train.”