The Federal Government has declared Funtua Inland Dry Port in Katsina State as a port of origin and final destination for import and export of cargoes.
This implies that the Inland Dry Port is empowered to operate shipping businesses including clearing and forwarding of cargoes directly from anywhere in the world.
The declaration, which was made on behalf of the Federal Government by the Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, is coming many years after the establishment of the facility.
In March 2006, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the establishment of the Funtua Container Freight Station, alongside other inland dry ports across the country. The Funtua Container Freight Station was later converted to a dry port to be operated on the basis of Build, Own, Operate and Transfer( BOOT).
In making the declaration, Sambo relied on the powers conferred on him as Minister of Transportation by section 30 of the Nigerian Ports Authority Act, Cap. N126 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
He said the Funtua Inland Dry Port would be a Customs port in accordance with the provisions of the Customs and Excise Management Act, Cap. C45 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and would have all the prerequisites of an international port.
According to the Minister, the importance of Katsina State as the commercial domain in the Trans-Saharan trade route with huge agricultural produce and trade in local and export volumes, qualified the state for an inland dry port.
He said national and international maritime practitioners, shippers, shipping companies, landlocked countries and port users should take full advantage of the port for import and export of their cargoes.
In her remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, said the declaration of Funtua Inland Dry Port as port of origin and final destination was another milestone achievement for the intermodal transportation system in the country.
“The Funtua Inland Dry Port will further unlock the economic potentials of Nigeria and facilitate trade with the land-locked countries like Niger and Chad Republic. The Port will provide importers and exporters located within the nation’s hinterland access to shipping and port services without physically being at the seaports,” she said.
She said the project “will promote the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and economic integration as well as further support the Presidential Business Enabling Environment Council (PEBEC)”.
The Governor of Kastina State, Aminu Bello Masari, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Musa Sule, noted that the state government, as part of its contribution to the project, facilitated 16.2 hectares of land and also paid compensation to the landowners.
He said the Katsina State Government took the step based on the conviction that when fully operational, the dry port will create employment for the immediate community and its environs, support revenue base of the state and facilitate trade within and outside the country.
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary, Nigeria Shippers’ Council, Emmanuel Jime advised states that were allocated inland dry orts, but were yet to develop them, to expedite action on the project in order to bring shipping closer to importers and exporters in their state.