The Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Hadiza Bala Usman has said that the lack of rail connectivity is the bane of Nigerian ports, saying that no ports should be constructed without a linkage to the rail network for cargo evacuation.
According to the Managing Director, Rail Transportation and linkages shall continue to play a crucial role to port operation, citing the example of the Nigerian experience where ineffective port railway infrastructure has affected effective port operations.
Hadiza Bala Usman was speaking in a welcome address at the beginning of the West Africa Rail Revolution Conference in Lagos at the weekend , which drew participants from several European and West Africa countries.
PHOTO CAPTION: Acting Country Director, British Council in Nigeria, Stephen Forbes, Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Bala Usman and Special Advisor to the African Executive Director for Policy and Advocacy, (One Campaign), Edwin Ikhuoria, at the Future Leaders Connect Mentoring Workshop in Commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of British Council in Lagos on Saturday.
“lf 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” she said.
“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” Hadiza added.
The chief helms person of the NPA 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 terrane 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, Engineer Chidi. K. C Izuwah, Director General Chief Executive office under the Presidency Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission while welcoming delegates to the 2-day event reiterated the need for African Countries to ensure that adequate provision is made in the area of port infrastructure.
According to the him, 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.