W’Bank, FG, Others Sign $40m Deal to Decongest Apapa Ports

Dele Ogbodo in Abuja

The Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Shippers’ Council (NSC), Mr. Hassan Bello, wednesday said the federal government, through the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), NSC and the International Consortium (IFC), the investment arm of the World Bank, has concluded a $40 million deal to de-congest Apapa, Lagos, gridlock by building automated truck landing terminals across the country.

While disclosing this at an interactive session with Transport correspondents in Abuja, Bello said the deal would be delivered through the National Freight Information and Transportation Hub (NAFITH), a Jordanian Logistics Service Consultant to IFC, in collaboration from with Lagos State Government and other interested stakeholders.

The entire project which THISDAY learnt will take 18 months to complete has commenced at different parts of the country to create truck landing terminal that will be electronically driven.

The project, when completed, he said, would reduce the notorious traffic jam in Apapa, Lagos.
According to Bello, “The project is being done in collaboration with Lagos State Government, and they have started looking at locations across the country to build terminals that will be electronically guided.

“IFC, an arm of the World Bank, through NAFITH, did the study on behalf of NSC for the government, but also has contribution from Lagos State Government.

“In fact, it is in conjunction with NPA, therefore, we have started looking at locations to create stages and terminals as all these will be electronically guided so trucks won’t be at the port when they are not needed.
“It will take 18 months to complete the projects, and they will come in stages, getting the land took four months, the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC).”

The entire process, according to the executive secretary, will be done with expression of interest, adding that willing investors in the park allocation will have to show their capability and expertise through selection process.

He stressed that it would be Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) and they will also sublease for other value chain of business that it will attract other interest.
On the National Shipping Line, he said government had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Pacific International Line (PIL) of Singapore.

According to him, the national fleet which will be driven by the private sector, has 40 percent shares for PIL, while Nigerians will take 60 percent.

He said: “We are engaging a transaction adviser who will guide us on how Nigerians will buy the 60 percent. We need the expertise and the management capability of the PIL so that the national carrier will be sustainable.
“It is not only to have ships but their sustainability, and it will be a purely 100 percent private sector as government will not have a hand in it. Government is just the enabler without investing a kobo in the project.”
Bello stressed that the role of the government would be to provide the will and conducive atmosphere for the project to prosper, therefore, “we are looking at incentivising and encouraging Nigerians to drive it.”

According to him, the status of a national carrier means that all project cargos will be done by the national shipping line, adding that it means that all the rolling stock for the rail system will be done by the national carrier.

He said: “We have approached developmental banks for the 60 percent shares, and we are hopeful that Afriexim bank is ready to advance the 60 percent stakes for investors to access.
“Very soon, you will see it in the newspaper, because we want to make sure that everything is done properly and to avoid the mistakes of the past.”

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