By Chidubem Anthony
Construction work on the $134 million Ibadan Inland Dry Port (IDP) will commence latest by first quarter of 2019 and to ensure that no time is lost, the procurement process would run concurrently, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Mr. Hassan Bello, said.
Bello, who disclosed this in Ibadan during his courtesy visit to Oyo State Governor, Mr. Abiola Ajimobi, also presented to him the project’s Outline Business Case Compliance Certificate (OBCC), explaining that the 20,000-tonne inland port would be developed in three phases.
Accompanied by a representative of Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Mr.Dada Ahmed, and representatives of CRCC China-Africa Construction Limited, Bello said the contractor had approached the NSC to develop the facility at Olorisa-Oko area, where the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge railway line terminates.
He expressed hope that “the turning of sod, signifying the movement of the concessionaire to site, and the commencement of construction work start before the end of the year or early 2019,” while inviting the state government and the public for equity holding in the project.
According to Bello, there is now a greater need for inland dry ports in the nation’s hinterlands than in 2007 when the Federal Government approved the concession of six Inland Container Depots (ICDs) across the country, including the one to be located at Erunmu in Ibadan.
“The roads round the Logos Logistic Ring (LRR) are littered with trucks and tankers averaging 7,500 daily, with about 5,000 of them not having feasible business to transact in the Apapa area.” he noted.
More so, he said the push to diversify the economy has further stimulated the need to bring shipping services to shippers’ doorsteps in the hinterlands, where agricultural commodities and other export cargoes generated there would be shipped with ease through the facility.
The NSC chief urged the state government to safeguard the allocated land from all encumbrances, and ensure basic infrastructure, including security and access roads.
Thankful for locating the facility in his state, Ajimobi said the state has the potential to become the nation’s food basket with its huge landmass, good soil profile, strategic position and concentration of agricultural research institutes. He further tasked the contractor on speedy completion of the construction work.
PHOTO CAPTION: Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi (left), and NSC Executive Secretary, Hassan Bello