The Federal Government has pronounced Kano Dala Inland Dry Port (IDP) as “a port of origin for export of goods and final destination” for goods brought into the country via the nation’s seaports to promote efficient transportation.
While making the declaration in Kano on behalf of the Federal Government, the Minister of Transportation, Engr. Mu’azu Jaji Sambo disclosed that the event was approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in March 2006, as part of the government’s effort to promote efficient transportation, decongest the seaports and bring shipping and ports services closer to importers and exporters.
“In today’s new global economy, speed to the markets with finished goods and lower shipping costs are the main drivers more than ever before,” he said, adding that the Dala IDP will facilitate these and more.
On why the project was located in Kano, Sambo explained that: “The importance of Kano State as the commercial capital of northern Nigeria with huge agricultural trade and export volume is well documented.
“The state has a sizeable number of textile and agro-allied industries, assembly plants amongst others and several manufacturing industries. It is not only suited but most qualified.”
Sambo called on shipping companies, maritime practitioners and land-locked countries like Chad, Niger and other port users to “take full advantage of the Dala IDP for the importation and export of cargoes”.
The governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, represented by his deputy, Dr. Nasiru Yusuf Gowuna noted that the Dala IDP marks the process of harnessing the potential which makes the state the largest non-oil and gas economy in the country, with a gross domestic product of $12 billion, driven largely by commerce, manufacturing and subsistent agriculture.
Also speaking, the permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation and the chairman, Inter-Ministerial Standing Committee of the Nigeria-Niger Joint Commission, Dr. Magdalene Ajani said: “I am glad that the declaration of Dala Inland Dry Port as a port of origin and final destination coincides with the facility tour of the Inter-Ministerial Standing Committee of Nigeria-Niger Joint Commission for Cooperation and Niger Economic Operators. The facility is part of the bilateral obligations between Nigeria and Niger targeted at assessing Nigeria’s preparedness for the transit of Nigerien cargoes”.
Speaking further, Ajani said that with this declaration, Dala IDP becomes the closest port to the Niger Republic, noting that Nigeria stands to benefit from the increased patronage of her corridor by land-locked countries.
The executive secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Emmanuel Jime disclosed that the Dala IDP was developed through a public-private partnership, using the ‘build, operate and transfer’ policy. He said that the project will, among numerous other benefits, give impetus to revive and modernise the railway as a primary mode of long-distance haulage, reduce the cost of transporting cargo to the hinterlands, give Nigeria a competitive edge and help her get ratified into the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, in addition to the numerous jobs opportunities it will generate.
Jime assured that the council will ensure that others besides the Dala IDP will be fully compliant with the provisions of the operational manual for IDPs by having transit facilities and operating 24/7.
The managing director, Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Engr. Fidet Okhiria said: “The Board of NRC has approved track access to anybody or company wishing to provide the infrastructure – that is the rolling stock to operate on the track which, I hope, Dala Inland Dry Port will tap into – for the maximisation of the essence of [the opportunity of having a] rail track in their premises”.
In his presentation, the chairman, Dala IDP, Abubakar Bawuro said Niger, Chad and Cameroun have indicated their desires to use the facility, noting that the Dala IDP will further boost the trans-Saharan trade for which Kano was once a hub.
In addition, the chairman disclosed that the narrow, Lagos-Kano gauge is fully connected to the facility and neighbouring countries importing through the seaports can complete the second leg from Kano to Niger or other parts via road.
Singled out for commendation were the former Minister of Transportation Kema Chikwe under whose stewardship approvals for the IDPs were granted, erstwhile Minister of Transportation Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi for persevering for the formation of the Inter-Ministerial Standing Committee of Nigeria-Niger Joint Commission to fast-track delivery date of the Dala IDP and the former executive secretary, of the NSC, Hassan Bello, who avails the Dala group professional and technical advice at no cost.
It is hoped that the official commissioning of the Dala Inland Dry Port will be performed by President Muhammadu Buhari in September this year.