NRC loses N531m in six months to Abuja-Kaduna train shutdown ― MD

•To begin movement of cargoes on Lagos-Ibadan train in November

The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has said that it lost N531m to inactivity on the Abuja-Kaduna route between March to August 2022.

Addressing journalists on Wednesday in Lagos during a press briefing, the NRC MD, Engineer Fidet Okhiria explained that the lack of diesel also contributed to the reduction in trips done on the Lagos-Ibadan train services.

According to Engineer Fidet Okhiria, “Contrary to rumours in circulation, we have not stopped the Lagos-Ibadan train services, but rather the route operates four train services per day. Also, for Warri-Itakpe, we do two trains per day.

“But for the Abuja incident, our hope was that by now, we should be running 10 trips on the Lagos-Ibadan route – five going and five coming.

“We were already doing 10 trips per day on the Abuja-Kaduna and thought that by now, it would have increased to 12; six to and six from either end, so that people can properly schedule their movement using the train.

“Regrettably, due to inactivity on the Abuja-Kaduna train which was caused by the last terrorist attack, we have recorded a shortfall of N531 million on the Abuja-Kaduna route from March to August 2022. The shortfall is from expected income following the disruption occasioned by the train attack.

“While we are trying to resolve that and people are building confidence, we have this astronomical challenge in the cost of diesel – from N300 plus to over N1000/litre.
“Due to this, the Lagos-Ibadan route dropped to two because of diesel cost. What we earn cannot pay for diesel.

“We have people providing security because of the situation all over the place. We have to hire separate security. We have to pay them, whether the train runs or not. We have to pay light bills, and still have to buy diesel for the generators servicing the stations, among other things despite the inactivity along the Abuja-Kaduna train route and the drop on the Lagos-Ibadan train services.

“So you can see that what we earn is also eroded by operational cost even in the midst of challenges.”

On the movement of cargoes from the ports via the standard gauge rail, the NRC MD explained that the movement of cargoes with the Lagos-Ibadan train should start in November 2022.

“We are currently meeting with some maritime stakeholders, including APM Terminals and ENL Consortium, to ensure that freight runs on the standard gauge from both terminals to Papalanto and Abeokuta before November.

“We are working hard to ensure that the access roads and freight yards are properly put in place so that the equipment for rolling stocks is put in place.

“We are meeting with some individuals proposing the warehouses and freight yards, and hope that before November we start moving freights on the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail.”

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