By 2018 Nigeria’s Agro-commodity Export Revenue To Hit N100bn
Revenue from Nigeria’s agro-commodity export is expected to rise above N100bn before the end of 2018, the Managing Director of Connect Rail Services Limited, Edeme Kikelume, has said.
Kikelume, also said the sector had the potential to do even more than that if the Federal Government’s directive on export was respected by various agencies in charge of export trade.
The MD who hailed the effort of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) at ensuring that the Federal Government benefited from the agro-commodity sector, said Connect Rail was synonymous with powering agro-commodities export.
Kikelume stressed that Connect Rail’s objective in the maritime sector was to support the Federal Government’s effort to diversify the economy from oil to non-oil export.
He said: “Our operations at the Ikorodu Light Terminal, designated by the NPA as an agricultural export terminal, has significantly improved the challenges that agro-commodities exporters have been facing moving their cargo as a result of the port’s congestion in Apapa.”
The company’s MD who provided an insight on how to stimulate the logistics sector, explained that Nigeria’s internal freight mix was dominated by road haulage, as the country’s rail network was dilapidated and underdeveloped and its utilisation of inland waterways extremely poor.
According to him, Nigeria’s railway infrastructure, if well-developed like other countries like South Africa could carry larger volumes over greater distances, making it more economical, and much quicker for transporting heavy cargo.
He said: “The use of rail over trucks to transport containers from maritime facilities could help ease container backlogs and reduce congestion on Nigeria’s roads.
“Nigeria has about 10,000 kilometres of waterways, which if developed through dredging and provision of auxiliary facilities will provide all year-round navigation for transportation of bulk cargo and passengers.
“With Over 8, 000 km of navigable waterways, Nigeria has the second longest length of waterways in Africa. 28 of the nation’s 36 states can be accessed through water, linked to five neighbouring countries: Benin Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
“Globally, in the US for instance, coal for the electricity industry, petroleum products, construction industry aggregates and cement, chemicals, including fertilizers, metal ores and minerals, heavy products such as steel and many other manufactured products are moved through its inland waterways. Shippers and consumers in the economies of 38 states in the USA depend on inland waterways to move about 630 million tonnes of cargo, valued at over $73bn annually. Moreover, 60 per cent of the country’s farm exports travel by inland waterways.
“The untapped opportunity to utilise barge, rail and truck for cargo transportation as a critical driver for economic growth of the nation’s economy and the significant environmental and social impact on its people is what inspired us to set up of Connect Rail.‘’