By Eromosele Abiodun
The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) has called on the federal government to speed up the linkage of Apapa and Tin-Can Island seaports to rail transportation, saying it will help stimulate economic growth.
CILT stated this in communiqué issued at the end of its 2019 national conference and annual general meeting (AGM) of the institute held in Warri, Delta state.
The conference tagged: “Multimodal Freight Logistics in Nigeria, the Role of Rail Transportation,” was aimed at fostering institutional mechanism and concerted efforts that would promote the delivery of efficient, effective and quality logistics services at the local, sub national and national levels in Nigeria.
In the communiqué, the institute also frown upon the present legal framework setting up the Nigeria Railway Corporation(NRC), saying lack of interconnectivity among the mode of transportation is a clog in the wheel for the nation’s development.
“The fact that only the Apapa and Port Harcourt Ports are linked to rail does not augur well for the economic development of our country. That there is no effective inter modal transport architecture and or inter connectivity of one mode of transportation with another such that the Railway should be properly linked to the inland waterways, ports and Road transport network for more effective and efficient logistics penetration,” CILT said.
The institute, which also deplored the present legal framework which is the Railway Act 1955 cannot support the present aspiration for the establishment and unbundling of a modern, efficient and effective railway infrastructure which can in turn impact positively on an efficient and effective multimodal freight logistics mechanism.
“That rail transportation development which is an integral part of multi modal freight logistics and Transportation in Nigeria has been neglected over time. This trend must be deliberately halted if Nigeria is to fully realize her Socio economic potential for social and economic integration, ” the institute said.
The participants were, however, encouraged by the present efforts made by government to change this unacceptable narrative.
“That the average cumulative sub sectorial capital expenditure allocations in the Transport subsector has been made to the disadvantage of the rail transport mode which invariably is the transport mode that is capable of carrying bulk freight,” it said.
The Institute, however, advised the federal government to liberalise the Nigerian railway for effective private sector participation.
“Realising the critical importance of railway infrastructure and interconnectedness of its logistics services at these different spheres of our socio economic life, the public private partnership (PPP) investment model should be encouraged for the ease of attracting more funds into the rail transport subsector and incentives should be made available to the investors.
Also, efforts and the will to pragmatically link not only the North south but also the East West zones of our country, her inland waterways, ports and our neighbouring countries that will activate socio-economic integration and inspire prosperity for our people should be initiated,”it added.