ENL Consortium Nigeria Limited, operator of Terminals C and D of the Lagos Port Complex (LPC), Apapa has thrown its weight behind efforts by the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) to facilitate haulage of goods cleared at the port by rail.
General Manager of ENL Consortium, Mr. Mark Walsh, said in Lagos on Friday at an event marking the official delivery of 20 pressurised tank wagons for the haulage of petroleum products across the country to NRC, that his company will also encourage port users especially importers and agents to take advantage of the NRC initiative.
“We have waited for this for a long time. It is so good to hear the sound of the train again. This will take stress off the road and facilitate clearance and delivery of goods at the port,” Walsh stated when he delivered a goodwill address at the ceremony which had several dignitaries including the Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar; Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA); Mallam Habib Abdullahi; Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Mr. Hassan Bello; and Comptroller Charles Edike of Apapa Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in attendance.
The 45,000 litres fuel tank wagons were specifically developed for Nigeria with advanced technologies and serviceable parts and materials used in domestic railway wagons in China.
Managing Director of NRC, Engr. Adeseyi Sijuwade, in his address at the event, said that the new wagons, which were acquired at the cost of N650 million, are superior to previous wagons in the railway system. He said besides the strength and non-corrosive barrels of the new wagons, they are also of low cost in maintenance and operation. He said the 20 newly acquired wagons bring to 40 the number of new pressurised light oil tank wagons in the fleet of the organisation with the Transport Minister having commissioned the first set of 20 in February 2012.
Sijuwade said that the tank wagons are fire resistant and made with heat absorbing materials thus saving the nation from the huge loss inherent in fire disasters and menace of environmental pollution and degradation against established standards of best practices.
He called on captains of the oil and gas sector, as well as tanker and truck owners, to grab the opportunity of using the safer and cheaper means of transporting their products.
Receiving the wagons, the Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, said the 20 wagons have the capacity of lifting 900,000 litres of petroleum products, which is the equivalent of about 30 tankers by road. He added that a heavy burden would be off Nigerian roads once the NRC starts lifting fuel to different part of the country.
“Furthermore, the environmental pollution, economic and social hazards as well as the delay occasioned by the long haulage of petroleum products by road will be substantially reduced with the introduction of these tank wagons within our transport sector”, he added.
“The acquisition of the tank wagons is aimed at complementing the present predominant long distance haulage of petroleum products by tankers in a systematic manner so as to relieve the heavy pressure on the road network, thereby extending their durability, reducing road accidents, saving lives and generally reducing vehicle operating cost”, he said.
Evacuation of containers by rail resumed at APM Terminals Apapa, the container terminal located within the LPC after 16 years hiatus. 20 units of 40-foot containers are evacuated weekly by rail to Kano and Kaduna.