The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has announced the suspension of movement of containers by rail from the Lagos Port Complex, Apapa for two months beginning from today, Tuesday September 15, 2020.
Lagos Railway District Manager, Jerry Oche, who confirmed the development in a chat with SHIPS & PORTS on Monday, explained that the suspension of the rail service is to pave way for the resumption of track laying on the ongoing standard gauge rail project to enable the contractor meet up the December date for the completion of the project.
“We have to stop the operation tomorrow (Tuesday) to enable our contractor handling the standard gauge to have access to the whole line because they are trying to meet the December handover date. They are also expected to rehabilitate the old narrow gauge and work on the new narrow gauge, the one entering the port and if we continue to run trains that will be difficult. So we are stopping rail cargo evacuation for two months beginning tomorrow. We hope to resume November 14.
“The idea is for us to get a better service by the time we resume and the only way for us to get that is for us to shut down now. By the time we will be resuming, we expect to get a rehabilitated narrow gauge as well as a brand new standard gauge all entering the port. Even if the standard gauge is not ready, definitely the narrow gauge is not going to be in the same condition we are leaving it now. It will be in a better form and issues of accident and derailment will be a thing of the past. So it is a sacrifice we all have to make,” he said.
Oche said the NRC facilitated about 13 trips of import, export and return empty containers at the Lagos Port complex Apapa from September 1 to 13.
Recall that the NRC had in June resumed evacuation of containers by rail at the Apapa port as part of efforts to decongest the roads.