The Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Transportation, said that it has started moves to designate Inland Dry Ports (IDP’s) as Ports of origin and destination across the country.
The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Mr Emmanuel Jime, stated this during the launch of the Operational Manual for Inland Dry Ports in Nigeria.
The manual provides the processes and procedures for the Inland Dry Ports.
Jime pledged that operators and the regulators would be mandated to abide by the processes in the manual to address the gaps and boost transparency and accountability in the sector.
He said: “The Federal Ministry of Transportation has begun moves to designate Inland Dry Ports in Nigeria as ports of destination and ports of origin to enable them to function the same way a seaport will function.
“In addition to this, agencies of government, as present inside the seaports, will be present inside the Inland Dry Ports.
“As a matter of fact, we expect the Inland Dry Ports to be more efficient than the seaports because we are learning from the mistakes made at the seaports in order not to replicate the same at the dry ports.
“As you are aware, the Council is the supervising and implementing agency of the Dry Port projects in the country.”
The NSC chief explained that activities in the manual include container import by rail, container export by rail, container import by truck, container export by truck, customs controls, and empty container storage.
“The Inland Dry Port projects were conceived as part of the Federal Government’s reform programme in the Transport sector to promote efficient transportation, enhance efficiency at our ports, and to engender trade facilitation.”
“Consequently, the Federal Executive Council granted approval for the establishment of Inland Dry Ports in March 2006 at six locations across the Country namely: Isiala- Ngwa – Abia State; Erunmu Ibadan- Oyo State; Heipang Jos – Plateau State; Funtua – Katsina State; Maiduguri – Borno State and Dala, Kano State which is to be commissioned very soon.
“These projects are being developed through Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) using the Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) model.
“The strategic importance of producing the manual which articulates the step-by-step procedure(s) for receiving, storing, handling, and delivery of cargoes as well as highlighting the operations, the responsibilities of agencies, and timelines for discharging such tasks is the sine qua non.
“This operational Manual which was launched in Kano on July 21, 2022, will be launched in Port Harcourt on August 9, 2022. The Manual provides detailed processes and procedures for the main activities of the Inland Dry Ports.
“The operators and the regulators are compelled to abide by the operational processes as contained in the Manual. Specifically, the Manual describes the functions and activities of the Dry Ports Specifies layout designs; Outlines the activities that are to be performed at the Dry Port, laying down the sequence of operations.
“Address Dry Port operations procedures as it relates to export and import activities; align Dry Port Operations to international best practices, and ensure standard quality control in dry port operations.
The Manual, according to him, is based on best international practice adapted to suit the Nigerian context. Indeed each dry port will have its specialties, organisational implementation, layout constraints, and services offered and would therefore amend aspects of the manual on a case-by-case basis.
“It may be pertinent to state that this Manual would be used as a measure of performance by the regulator (in this case, the Nigerian Shippers Council) and will be subjected to future review to be in tandem with obtainable best practices, upon agreement of the two parties (the operator and the regulator).
“The launching of the Manual marks yet another milestone in the successful development and operation of the IDP projects in Nigeria.”
Earlier, the Minister of Transportation, Alhaji Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, explained that the projects were conceived as part of the Federal Government’s Ports Reform Programme designed, among others, to decongest the seaports, while also taking shipping and port services closer to importers and exporters in the hinterland.
Represented by the Ministry’s Deputy Director, Inland Container Depot, Mr. Ewache Victor, the minister said in addition to the above six gazetted Inland Dry Ports, approval was also granted for the upgrade of Kaduna ICNL Bonded Terminal to a full-fledged Dry Port.
“This was on the request of the Kaduna State government in 2008 resulting in approval by the Federal Executive Council. In April 2018, the Kaduna Inland Dry Port was officially gazetted as a port of Origin and Final Destination, considering the level of development and the commitment of the Concessionaire to the project.
“Also, other Inland Dry Ports are being processed in the following locations: Elolo ICD, Kebbi State by Deltatlantic Nig. Limited; Dagbolu ICD, Osun State by Osun State Government; Onitsha ICD, Anambra State by Sea Shipping Agency Limited; Ibadan ICD, Oyo State by CRCC Construction Company Limited; AMES Edo ICD, Edo State by Atlantic Marine and Engineering Services Limited; Bauchi ICD, by Bauchi State Government; Enyimba Economic City ICD, Abia State.”