Civil movement

FG ensures the rapid movement of cargo along inland waterways

“We want to ensure that inland waterway transport is developed as the movement of containers and other cargo by barges from Lagos through intra-coastal routes”

By Uzor Odigbo

The federal government has assured that it is working diligently to ensure that inland waterways are sufficiently developed to bring cargoes by barge to their destination ports.

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Transport Minister Mu’azu Jaji Sambo gave the assurance during an interview session with reporters at the ongoing 2022 Ministerial Retreat in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

“We want to ensure that inland waterway transport is developed in such a way that the movement of containers and other cargo by barge from Lagos via intra-coastal routes to the hinterland becomes the new norm,” said Sambo.

According to the Minister, to make this possible, the waterways will have to be cleaned up and fortunately the Ministry has found a company that is ready to do this during the month of November this year.

“We dream at the ministry to move containers from Marina in Lagos to Onitsha in Abambra State and even Baru in Niger State. This will involve the channeling and management of the canals from the roads from Lagos through the intra-coastal routes to the onshore rivers to Onitsha along the Niger River to Baru,” the Minister informed.

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On the issue of the Costal railway line which is expected to run from Lagos to Calabar, the Minister said that what is blocking is the funds as the China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC), the contractor managing the project is unable to provide the 85% of its counterpart. financing while Nigeria must provide 15%.

He, however, assured that the ministry had identified an investor willing to provide the funds and that the ministry was in talks on how to share the work between the investor and CCECC, the initial contractor.

On the importance of the Coastline, Sambo notes, “The Coastline is a very important line as it connects all the port cities in Nigeria. If you connect all the port cities by rail, then you can also open up the eastern ports so that the goods that come from the ports go naturally upwards”.

Responding to a question on how to implement the National Transport Development Plan 2021-2025, the Minister said, “The plan we have under the 25-year Railway Modernization Plan is to connect all the state capitals by rail”.