From Rotimi Agboluaje, Ibadan
The Nigerian Shippers’ Council has sealed a partnership with the Oyo State government and some Chinese investors to establish a $200million (N72billionn) modern dry port, a truck transit park in the state.
The project was unveiled by the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of the council, Mr. Hassan Bello, when he visited Governor Abiola Ajimobi, in in Ibadan, the state capital on Wednesday.
Bello appealed to his host to release 60,000 hectares for the dry port and another 35,000 hectares along the Oyo-Ibadan Road for the proposed park, which, he said, would boost the economic development of the state in particular, and Nigeria in general.
He said: “We are here because Oyo State is critical to development in transportation in Nigeria. Since 2006, the Federal Government had taken a decision to establish inland port in the six geo-political zones of the country, of which Oyo State is important. We have others in Abia, Jos, Kano, Maiduguri and Funtua.
“Because of the strategic importance of Ibadan, we have had inquiries from a serious Chinese investor for the project. Five days ago we signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop this very important Ibadan dry port project.
“What we are looking for from the state government is to have, along the railway line that is currently ongoing, a 60,000 hectares of land to develop a modern dry port, while the transport transit park will require 35,000 hectares of land,” he said.
On the benefits of the dry port, he said that it would provide jobs for 10,000 people, while the truck park would equally generate 25,000 jobs.
Bello said that the project was heavily dependent on the ongoing Lagos-Kano rail project, which would decongest the heavy traffic on road transportation of goods from the Lagos port to other parts of Nigeria.
He disclosed that the proposed park alone would gulp N4.8billion, through the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP).
According to him, apart from helping to diversify the country’s revenue base, it would enhance the internally-generated revenue of the state, as well as provide security for cargoes through seamless tracking of goods.
In his response, the governor said that he was marvelled by the concept of modern dry port and TPP, and promised to support the projects.
He asked the council to hasten the paper works for the project to commence without further delay.
The governor said that the projects would cause a remarkable reduction in road carnage, improvement in economic activities and maximisation of employment opportunities.
Ajimobi called for strict enforcement of rules on parking of trucks at completion of the park.