Rotimi Raimi-Hassan, General Manager, of Kaduna Inland Dry Port, KIDP, in this interview says the port has the capacity to create 5000 direct and indirect jobs within a short span.
This will be made possible as soon as the shipping companies recognize and designate it as port of final destination. Other challenges the port is facing, according to him is present lack of cargo delivery by rail from the seaports, and low patronage by market and buyers in the northern axis.
The port manager says as soon as northern stakeholders and the respective states key into the reality that the KIDP is there to serve their needs with less stress, the hassles and hustling to Lagos, Calabar or Port Harcourt seaports will become a thing of the past.
By Eguono Odjegba
IT’S been about two years since President Muhammad Buhari commissioned this port. How has business been like?
Kaduna inland dry port was commissioned on January 4, 2018 by the president as a port of origin and port of destination, and as the first dry port in Nigeria. It has been on a partial operation due to some challenges hindering it from operating as full dry port and these challenges are being addressed by Nigerian Shippers’ Council – regulator of Inland dry ports operations in Nigeria.
The challenges have not enabled us to commence full operations as a dry port. With the support we have enjoyed from the Nigerian Shippers’ Council in trying to address some of the challenges, l believe we would overcome if other stakeholders in the industry cooperate and give their full support to the objective and goals in the establishment of the dry port.
Can you list some of these challenges?
Shipping companies are yet to support KIDP as port of final destination by adjusting shipping documents and the Bill of Lading, TBL, to reflect the status of port of final destination.
Movement of cargoes
This reality has positive impact on the overall cost of cargo starting with transportation. So to a large extent it has negatively affected movement of cargoes by road and also resulted in low patronage by many northern states. Inland Dry Port Regulator, Nigeria Shippers’ Council is looking into the issues and we believe, they will be addressed very soon.
How much support have you enjoyed from the Kaduna State Government and the other northern state governments?
Kaduna State government has done its own bit as the host state by providing water, electricity and access road and full support. I want to commend the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai for this while counting on more support from the state government. I want to put on record that the Kaduna State governor has been a strong supporter of the dry port project. Aside other roads he constructed leading to the dry port, there is an ongoing dual carriage road that is over seventy percent completed he is working on which will further boost our operations.
He listens to us and has demonstrated strong leadership support that he means well for his people and investors in the state. We cannot thank him enough. The state government, in our opinion considers the port’s multiplier effect to state in terms of economic activities to the state; creation of employment, encouraging the development of other businesses related to port activities; bringing shipping services to the doorsteps of shippers in Northern Nigeria.
What about support from proximate northern states
For now, only Kaduna, Kano, Niger states and the FCT are the few that are patronizing Kaduna dry port despite that the dry port was established to cater for northern states. On our part, we had engaged in seminars, electronic advert, personal contacts but the required complementary services support from other stakeholders like shipping companies, Nigerian Railway Corporation, Seaport/Terminal Operators, NPA, are still not quite encouraging. Equally the appointment of pre-inspection agent is an issue, this slowing down our aggressive marketing.
Can you give us an appraisal of Customs presence and corporate support for the port project
We have full complement of customs presence in the port here. I need to remind you that it’s a customs port where we have all units of customs officers performing their legitimate duties with other port security and regulatory agencies joining the customs in physical examination exercise.
Are you linked to NICCIS 11?
The Kaduna inland dry port is fully linked with NICCIS 11 and in tune with customs modernisation.
Since inception, what is the volume of export KIDP has processed?
Our first year of commencing operations in 2018, we engaged the exporters in seminars to sensitise and informed them about the benefits of using KIDP platform position to cater for their export forwarding, direct to other countries ports of destination. Second year 2019, there was an improvement in export of goods transferred from KIDP. We processed about 2,378.24 metric tonnes last year, 2019.
How many containers have been transported here by rail and what is the monthly average of container delivery?
We have had no container delivered by the Nigeria Railway Corporation. There are so many factors involved. But so far, none of our delivery has been done by rail. Of course we recognize the importance of rail haulage, there are not enough wagons and locomotives that will haul containers here and meet up our demands.
Importance of rail haulage
Presently, we are operating at an average of less than two per cent capacity of our throughput monthly. Last year, we moved about 120 TEUs within three months only before NRC stopped operation due to construction going on within Iju to Apapa axis in Lagos.
What are the commodities exported through the your port
The export commodities are ginger, cow horn, hibiscus flowers also known as Zobo, solid minerals – manganese, zinc ore, etc. We had 2,017 metric tonnes of manganese solid, minerals exported from Kaduna inland dry port last year.
Can you identify some of the difficulties in the movement ofvcargoes from Lagos ports to Kaduna?
In ideal situation, in dry port logistics, rail is a major mode of transportation from the seaport, talking about mass evacuation or transfer of cargo from the mother seaport to dry port; but that is not the case here in Nigeria. The shipping lines/companies do not recognize it as full-fledged port of destination that is our major issue concern. This is one of the difficult challenges we face in operating a dry port, dry port logistics operation is from port of loading to port of destination -KIDP while Lagos seaports/terminals; TCIP or Onne/PH are port of discharge.
We operate under customs bond status moving cargoes on trucks by road which is expensive and even involves several documentation process with various customs units for processing/clearances coupled with other agencies clearance before leaving the respective ports of discharge.
What is your container capacity holding and TEUs
I said before that we are underutilised due to the challenges I mentioned. But we operate on the average of 350 to 400 TEUs monthly. Our capacity is in excess of 4,000 TEUs.
What was your first quarter 2020 performance
The containers throughput to KIDP in first quarter of 2020 was above 1,100 TEUs. January to March 2019, it was about 700 TEUs.
How much employment can be created by the KIDP, direct and indirect?
About four hundred (400) jobs have been created for now for indirect and direct jobs, but at full capacity when the dry port commences hundred percent operations, it can accommodate and sustain more than 5,000 jobs.