Inability of Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) to move containerised cargoes from Lagos Port to the Kaduna Dry Port has reduced the activities of Inland Container Nigeria Limited (ICNL).
The company is the concessionaire of the dry port and the first to be operational in the country.
Currently, the firm depends on road transportation to move some of its containers to the dry port.
However, its Managing Director, Mr Yusuf Ismail, explained that freight cost of containers to the dry port by road from Lagos to Kaduna had affected its business.
He noted that besides the ocean freight, port terminal charges, and cargo handling charges, freight cost by road had risen by 100 per cent, making the dry port uncompetitive.
Yusuf recalled that the purpose of establishing the Inland Container Depot (ICD) was to make the cost of transportation cheaper for users of the port.
He said: “Since the rail is not working presently, we are forced to use road. We have lots of bad roads everywhere and cost of transportation has increased, cost of diesel has gone up. So, definitely where you are supposed to spend N400,000 for one 40 feet container, you end up spending N800,000, so that is the limiting factor.”
Also, the managing director explained that the dry port had not been designated a port of origin and destination for cargoes. He added that the company had not moved cargoes in the name of the dry port.
Ismail said that the company was still operating like a bonded terminal.
He stressed that ICNL was still discussing with shipping companies for smooth trade facilitation.
Ismail noted: “Nobody will want to pay higher when you are seeing that the dry ports make their cost of transportation cheaper and when you discover that it is not cheaper you will eventually want to go back to what you were doing before. All these things are what we are discussing with the shipping companies.
“You need to discuss the cost of transportation from here to Kaduna then the ocean freight, the terminal charges in Lagos and the handling charges. So, everything must be put together and then we will see whether it is cheaper for the users of the dry ports before we will know the next step to take.”