How Rail Passengers’ Traffic Fell 50% in 2023 over Rising Insecurity

Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja

The number of Nigerians who patronise the few available rail networks in the country fell by almost 50 per cent in 2023, ostensibly on the back of the rising general state of insecurity in the country.

Latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that compared to the previous year, revenue generated from passengers also fell from N4.5 billion in 2022 to N4.4 billion in 2023.

But according to tables of activities in the rail sector released by the NBS, in Q1, 2023, revenue from passenger traffic fell from N2 billion to N768.4 million, but increased from N598 million to N1.1 billion in Q2, as well as in Q3 when it increased to N1.4 billion from N715 million the previous.

However, it again fell from N1.1 billion in Q4 of 2023 from a high of N1.2 billion in the same quarter of the previous year.

Nigeria operates mainly three major rail lines from Lagos to Ibadan, Warri to Itakpe in Kogi state as well as the busy Abuja to Kaduna route.

In March 2022, kidnappers struck at the popular Abuja-Kaduna, sending fear into commuters and resulting in the suspension of the line for about nine months.

Even after it was reopened in December of that year, passengers who were wary of the activities of bandits stayed away from patronising the rail line.

Also, kidnappers attacked the Warri-Itakpe line around Igueben, Edo state, resulting in the shutting down of the line, about two weeks after the passengers were forcibly taken away, with the announcement of a derailment by the locomotive.

“In Q4 2023, a total of 672,198 passengers travelled via rail system relative to 1,337,108 reported in the corresponding quarter of 2022, indicating a growth rate of -49.73 per cent.

“The volume of goods/cargos transported in Q4, 2023 stood at 119,286 tons compared to 53,136 tons recorded in Q4, 2022.

“In terms of revenue generation, N1.07 billion was received from passengers during the reference period, showing a decrease of 7.51 per cent from the N1.15 billion recorded in the same quarter of the previous year,” it stressed.

But the volume of cargoes increased during the period, from 157,024 tonnes to 317, 244 tonnes form 2022 to 2023.

In Q1, if rose from 39,379 tonnes to 59,966 tonnes, while in Q2, Q3 and Q4, 2023 it was 56,029 tonnes, 81,963 tonnes and 119, 286 tonnes respectively.

Revenue generated from goods stood at N1 billion in 2023, compared with N441.7 million in 2022, shared between Q1 (N181 million); Q2 (N188 million); Q3 (N286.7 million) and Q4 (N423,2 million).

“Similarly, N423.22 million was collected from goods/cargos conveyed in Q4 2023, up by 169.16 per cent from N157.23 million received in Q4 2022.

“In addition, other receipts amounted to N393.72 million, indicating an increase of 3.02 per cent in Q4 2023 from the N382.17 million collected in Q4 2022.

“The revenue received from passengers declined by 2.64 per cent in 2023, while volume of cargo and revenue from cargo rose by 102.04 per cent, and 144.32 per cent respectively relative to 2022,” the NBS data stated.

It also showed that in the first quarter of 2023, 441,725 Nigerians were transported by rail; in Q2, it was 474,117; in Q3 passengers ferried were 594,348, while in Q4, it rose to 672,198.

According to the report, other sources of income generated N34 million in Q1; N18.7 million in Q2; N119.2 million in Q3 and N393.7 million in Q4.

Nigeria’s rail system still remain largely underdeveloped, with investment still low, while major connecting axes in the country are still waiting to be built.

Related Articles