Minister Launches Port Harcourt-Aba Train Service For Commercial Ops

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Minister of Transportation, Sen. Said Alkali.
The Minister of Transportation, Sen. Said Alkali.

The Minister of Transportation, Sen. Said Alkali has officially inaugurated the 62km Port Harcourt to Aba rail service, marking its commencement on May 1, 2024.

He announced a four-day complimentary train ride from May 1 to 4,2024 to promote the service’s utilisation before commercial operations begin on May 7, 2024.

In his address at the Port Harcourt flag-off ceremony, the minister highlighted transportation as a top priority of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration, emphasising the significance of the eastern rail corridor project in enhancing connectivity and socioeconomic development.

Acknowledging the project’s contribution to national progress, Alkali revealed its strategic impact across five geopolitical zones, including the south-south, southeast, north-central, northeast, and northwest regions.

Addressing evolving energy needs, the minister discussed ongoing evaluations for retrofitting locomotives from diesel-powered to liquefied natural gas, a move aimed at optimising operational efficiency and potentially revising ticket prices along the service routes.

During the flag-off event, managing director of the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Engr. Fidet Okhiria affirmed the deployment of refurbished locomotives and coaches for the initial phase. He assured the public of forthcoming deliveries of additional locomotives and coaches by the contractor, China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC), to enhance service quality and capacity.

Highlighting the versatility of the rail service, Okhiria emphasised its capability to transport containers, thus offering a reliable freight option from Port-Harcourt to Aba.

Following the ceremony, Alkali, accompanied by key officials from the Federal Ministry of Transportation and traditional leaders, conducted an assessment and short ride on the newly commissioned train service, reaffirming the government’s commitment to improving national transportation infrastructure and services.

The launch of the Port-Harcourt – Aba train service underscores the government’s dedication to expanding rail connectivity, fostering economic growth and enhancing mobility for citizens across various regions of Nigeria.

Oluchi Okorafor
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