CoverHeadlinesPersonality Interviews Activities at Kaduna ICD still slow – MD By maritimemag June 25, 2018 ShareTweet 0 The Inland Container Nigeria Limited (ICNL), is the promoter of Kaduna Dry Port. The dryport was commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari in January, but being a first dryport in the country, some challenges were being experienced. In this interview with ABIOLA Seun, the Managing Director of ICNL, Yusuf Ismail, explains how the challenges are being addressed. Q: From your own side now, what is the level of completion of the Kaduna ICD project? Is it 100% completed, or there are still some developmental projects going on? A: If you mean completion in terms of construction, I think we are done completely. Q: What about movement of cargoes in and out of the port especially using rail. Has there been any improvement, because the NRC promised May, 2018 for the FG to bring in wagons to move containers in and out of the port? We are waiting for them; they are yet to supply us the locomotive wagons. Q: What measures have you taken to call government attention to it because the dry port cannot work in isolation of the rail component? A: I don’t know if you are aware that there is a committee in place set up by the Minister of Transportation, called Dry Port Committee. The committee has been working for the past few months and this is part of their assignment to ensure the availability of locomotives and wagons for the dry port. Q: At the commissioning, the president specifically mentioned Nigeria Customs Service to be cooperating with you, to what extent have you commenced interface with the Customs? A: Customs have been cooperating with us. They have posted some of their staff to the dryport. We have requested for sort code which they have given us and they promised to come and install their software to upgrade ASYCUDA to NICIS2 which we have provided the hardware and software. The training of upgrading to NICIS II is going on and I think soon they are doing roll-out of NICIS II and soon they will complete their own portion. Q: Looking at the facility and its impact in the overall economy of the country, in the long term, ten years from now what do you think the Kaduna dry port would have done for Nigeria? A: Well, many things. Because if all what are required are in place, at least they would do a lot on decongestion of the ports in terms of moving cargoes out of the port to Kaduna inland dry port and they will have boost economy of the people around the state including Kaduna itself and many people would have gotten jobs through the dry port indirectly or directly. Q: Do you have confidence in the ability of the State government providing logistics that will contribute to smooth working of the port, unlike what we have in Lagos where we have been suffering bad road infrastructure to ports for over 2 decades? A: I think we should appreciate the Kaduna state government because I believe in all the dry ports gazetted in Nigeria, Kaduna is the first to have that type of support being given by any state government. Some of the obligations of the state government has been done, they completed the water, light, and they are working on the roads. The roads done by the last administration was not good enough so when the Minister of Transportation visited for inspection he discovered that the roads will not last long and he took it upon himself that they should remove the asphalt and put a concrete type, the type Aliko Dangote is doing for the Wharf Road. They have done one side and they are working on the other side, by the time it is completed they would have done all what they are supposed to do on the infrastructure support for the dry port. Q: Sir, now that the port has not started working effectively, what are the activities like, are the activities at the rate at which you expected when you developed the concept? A: You know that it is a new business, unlike when it was a bonded terminal the processes are slightly different and the purpose of establishing all Inland Container Depots is to link these railway lines to the dry port so that the cost of transportation will be cheaper and will be better for the users of the port. But presently since the rail is not working we are forced to be using road and you know the condition of roads in Nigeria. We have lots of bad roads everywhere and cost of transportation has increased, cost of diesel has gone up. So definitely where you are supposed to spend N400,000 for one 40ft container, you end up spending N800,000 so that is the limiting factor. Q: Presently, how much does it cost to move container from Lagos port to Kaduna Dry Port? A: Movement of one 40 container from Lagos is N800,000.00 as against N400,000 if using rail. So it has gone up times two Q: You were the first ICD operator in Nigeria. What challenges did you encounter? A: Some of the challenges I have mentioned, we need rail to make it work, we need support of shipping companies. So the shipping companies have to work with government, with the owners of the dryport to ensure that the dry port works. Q: Has the dryport being designated port of destination yet? A: We are on discussion with appropriate authorities on that. Q: So how have you been moving cargoes to the Kaduna dryport? A; Presently, we have not moved containers in the name of the dry port, what we have presently is bonded terminal and we have dry port by the side both will run simultaneously for some time before one will drop for the other. We are still discussing with the shipping companies and when we are done with whatever we are going through it will be smoother, because it has never happened in this country before. We are the one facing the problem now, by the time others come up they will not face the problem we are facing now. You need to discuss the cost of transportation from here to Kaduna then the ocean freight, the terminal charges in Lagos and the handling charges. So everything must be put together and then we will see whether it is cheaper for the users of the dry ports before we will know the next step to take. Nobody will want to pay higher when you are seeing that the dry ports make their cost of transportation cheaper and when you discover that its not cheaper you will eventually want to go back to what you were doing before now. All these things are what we are discussing with the shipping companies. Q: Looking at the fact that you are the first ICD operator in Nigeria and we have other ICD operators across the geopolitical zones has there ever been a time others came to you for expertise advice? A: I think the one in Edo state wrote to us, I directed them to the dry port so that they will meet with the port manager. Q: What is the next project that the company is looking at in terms of investment, project in the maritime industry, you have achieved the Kaduna ICD. How are you going further? A: We participated in the bidding for concession of Onitsha River Port which we are waiting for the result. So any time from now the Federal Government will announce the winner. If we are lucky to win it, we are going to run the Onitsha River port too. Q: Do you have experience of running a river port? A: What is the difference between the seaport and the dry port? Let me just tell you, if all the river ports that we have are being run by government it will make them functional. You go to other countries look at how it works. Is it run by private investors or government, if it is run by government how committed is the government to be ensuring that they run it profitably. Like I told you the Transnet we went to in South Africa is owned by the South African government but they are doing it well. Q: The nation’s four River ports are in a rot despite government intervention. How do think we can resuscitate it and make it operational? A: I have told you before, if government wants it functional they will call investors to come and invest in them and give them the guidelines. They should put policies in place and there should be a regulatory body that will make sure it works. So that is how it is going to work. Everything lies in government, even the port we are looking here in Apapa, Tincan and everywhere, if government wants it to work it will work. It wasn’t like this in the early 90s and early 2000 where people does not have capacity to even run the port, that time it took us 30, 40 days to take container out of the port, but when they invited investors, things changed for the better. © 2018, maritimemag. All rights reserved.