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ICNL, Operator of Kaduna ICD, eyes Onitsha River Port


ABIOLA Seun       |         

The Inland Container Nigeria Limited (ICNL); operators of Kaduna Inland Dry Port, has expressed its intent though bidding process to manage the Onitsha River port.

The Onitsha River port which was built by ex-President Shehu Shagari and rehabilitated by president Goodluck Jonathan at N4.6 billion in 2012 has been completed but awaits concession for over six years, leaving the equipment to rot away.

‎But, speaking to journalists recently, the Managing Director of ICNL; Yusuf Ismail said the company has tendered its bidding for the concession of the Onitsha River Port,  even as he expressed confidence that the company has what it takes to operate the port.

Ismail also said that as the first successful ICD operator in Nigeria, other operators of ICDs in all the geo-political zones of Nigeria have been coming to his company for advice on how to run ICD projects. According to him, one of the companies is the Edo Inland Container Depot. 

He said, “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”.

Speaking on the company’s capacity to run the Onitsha port, he said, “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 it functional”

Speaking further on the operation of river ports in Nigeria, he said, “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 1990s and early 2000 where people do 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”, he added.  

Also speaking on the competiveness of the dryport to the seaport, Ismail said, “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 dryport before we will know the next step to take.

“Nobody will want to pay higher when you are seeing that the dryport make their cost of transportation cheaper and when you discover that it’s not cheaper you will eventually want to go back to what you were doing before. All these things are what we are discussing with the shipping companies”, he concluded.


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