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Seaports without rail link can’t drive economy—NPA MD

The Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman has argued that no country or economy should contemplate establishing sea port without the complement of adequate Rail Transportation linkage.

Speaking in her welcome address at the beginning of the West Africa Rail Revolution Conference in Lagos, she averred that Rail Transportation and linkages shall continue to play a crucial role to seaport operation especially in haulage of cargoes coming from the ports and in the process freeing highways of articulated or containerized vehicles.

According to her, the situation in Apapa, where ineffective port railway infrastructure has affected effective port operations, must be corrected as soon as possible.

Explaining more at the event, which drew participants from several European and West Africa countries, Bala Usman argued that “if anyone had any doubts as to 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) would instruct you about why no country would contemplate establishing Port 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” she added.

Continuing, she 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, adding that this would take place only through the collaboration in the sharing of experience at resolving complex issues.

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

In his welcome address, the Director General of Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Engineer Chidi Izuwah, reiterated the need for African Countries to ensure that adequate provision is made in the area of port infrastructure.

He noted that the developed nations of the world have overtime placed emphasis on developing their infrastructure which would further enhance import port operation and efficient terrace delivery across board.

The theme of the 2-day 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.