The China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation has said that a building belonging to the Nigeria Customs Service, situated inside the AP Muller Terminal Apapa, is frustrating evacuation of cargoes by rail in the port.
The Deputy Managing Director, CCECC, Mr Xia Lijun, said this recently when he hosted the Joint National Assembly Committee on Land Transport, which was on an oversight visit at Obafemi Awolowo rail station in Ibadan, Oyo State. He lamented that several efforts had been made to remove the building sitting along the rail gauge track inside the terminal, but to no avail. He noted that the building was the major reason why cargo evacuation by rail on the standard gauge trains had not commenced services inside the terminal. “We have eight tracks for standard gauge rail and three tracks for narrow gauge rail. However, despite connecting the port, we cannot move containers by rail because there is a building belonging to the NCS sitting on the rail track inside APM Terminals. We have made repeated efforts to remove that building, but it has all been fruitless. It is now three years since we have been asking that the Customs building be removed, but nothing of such has been done. Yes, passenger service is important but the freight service makes a profit.
“If we can carry the cargoes from the ports and later use the railway to carry them to different parts of the country, it will be faster. We have a Customs building inside; it is almost two to three years, and we cannot demolish the building. And without connecting the last 100meters, we cannot carry the cargoes, which is a headache for us. The lines have been there, but it is only the last 100meters that are not clear, which is an issue for us. If we cannot move cargoes by standard gauge trains, then we are not breaking even when it comes to profit-making and without connecting the last 100meters, we cannot carry the cargoes,” he said.