The Federal Government has commenced the operation of cargo delivery service from Kaduna Inland Dry Port to Lagos State.

Compared to cargo delivery by road, the commencement of the cargo service by rail is expected to reduce the cost of delivery by 50 percent.

According to the federal government, the service will also create 24,000 direct jobs within and around the dry port.

Speaking during the flag-off ceremony of the commencement of cargo delivery by rail to Kaduna port from Lagos seaports, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi said the dry port project was part of measures introduced by Federal government to de-congest the seaports.

Ameachi, who was represented by the Director of Maritime Services, Sani Galandanci, explained the service will address loss of cargo in transit, stop carnage and accidents on the roads, reduce transport cost and bring shipping services closer to shippers which would stimulate economic growth development.

Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai said the cargo service will boost the state’s internally generated revenue and de-congest the seaports.

He also disclosed his intention to send a trade delegation to Niger Republic with the aim of wooing them to utilize the cargo service.

He said: “The commencement has confirmed that our inland dry port is functioning and you can ship your goods direct from Kaduna to any part of the world and you can also import goods from any part of the world direct to Kaduna without your containers or any of your goods being opened up for inspection in Lagos.

“Today’s event has opened a new vista of commercial opportunities not only for Northern businessmen but even for our neighbouring countries.”

On the economic benefit of the port, he said: “The optimal operations of an inland dry port will impact tremendously on agro business, stimulate industrialization and production, thereby increasing our internally generated revenue.

“It will create jobs for our young people, it will expand business opportunities and also lower the cost of doing business for our business men here in Nigeria as well as lower the cost of agricultural products in southern Nigeria.”

Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council, Hassan Bello said the cargo service will address the challenges faced by the importers and exporters and guarantee seamless movement of cargo from the seaports to Kaduna Inland Dry Port.

On efforts taken to attract investors to Kaduna, he said: “We are in preliminary discussion with Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council in London and we want to bring them to Kaduna so that they can have a look so that they will know what value they can add to the dry port.

“It is important that the dry port is not just a transportation center but a hub of economic activities.

“We need to have so many facilities, like stores, refrigerated warehouses, consolidation centers, factories especially for packaging which is a problem for export.”