Gowon Calls For Rehabilitation of Rail System

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The National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) has called on the Federal Government to rehabilitate the rail system to make way for an operational Inland Container Depot and easy movement of goods within the country.

Speaking recently, the Executive Secretary of NARTO, Barrister Emmanuel Gowon said the ICDs will continue to remain in a poor state if the rails are not functional.

According to him, goods can be moved from the ICDs to the interior if the rails are revived, because movement would be made easy.

“If the rails is efficient, we will have a functional ICD but without a functional rail system, our ICD will remain in this poor position.

“If they are revived, our operations will be limited, we can move goods from the ICD to the interior, this will help our trucks and our business we will have lesser distance to work than from Lagos to the north or other part of the country," Gowon said.

Gowon noted that the only ICD partially operational in the country is the one in Kano, while that of Jos and other parts of the country are already grounded.

"The ICDs are not taking off strongly, strictly speaking they are not functional, on paper we may say they are functional but truly they are not operating at a level that they can reduce pressure on port.

“They have not really positioned themselves to be a very viable alternative to coming to the port,” he state

“The ICD at Kano is operating but their operation is not much that you can know that they exist even that of Jos is under threat as the Plateau State government is threatening to relocate them away from the place.

“If the ICD became operational, we can move goods from the ICD to the interior such as Kano, Yobe, Maiduguri and the rest within a short distance.

“The Kano ICD and others in the north will help our trucks because the distance to be covered will be a shorter distance. This will help our trucks and our business, we will have lesser distance to work than from Lagos to the north".

He explained that revitalisation of the ICDs would help in improving the maritime industry, especially that of the landlocked states, and the country as a whole.

“Also, our investment will last longer, the life span of our investment will increase, because they are not plying long distance.

“We should not forget that most of these places we are talking about are landlocked with no navigable river that containers can be moved by rails so we have no other choice than to use the trucks,” Gowon stated.