The Nigerian Shippers’ Council has announced that the Federal Government and China Railway Construction Corporation Limited are in the final stages of negotiation for the construction of the Ibadan Inland Dry Port.

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The CRCC is the preferred bidder for the proposed dry port to be established in the capital of Oyo State.

The NSC, which described this as a major milestone, is the guarantor to the concession of the proposed 80,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit capacity dry port to be built on the basis of a public-private partnership agreement.

It said in a statement issued in Abuja by the Head, Public Relations, NSC, Rakiya Zubairu, that on completion, the facility would help address the problem of port congestion and gridlock in Apapa, Lagos.

The council said the Ibadan facility would be designated a port of destination where cargo would be consolidated for import and export, especially in the South-West of Nigeria.

“Among other uses, the dry port will provide a competitive cargo sorting centre, bulk breaking as well as cargo-tracking and truck management services,” Zubairu said.

The council stated, “This project, which has been estimated at $94m (N43.24bn), will boost employment in Oyo State and other cities in the environs.”

It said the Lagos-Kano standard gauge railway, currently under construction, was aligned to the proposed dry port, making it easy to convey cargo from the seaports in Lagos and to all destinations along the route.

The NSC declared the negotiations emphasised the utilisation of local content at each stage of development and operation of the facility.

It said, “Having concluded this stage, an updated full business case compliance report will be produced. A draft agreement will be presented to the Federal Ministry of Justice and sent to the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission for vetting.

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“After that, the Minister of Transportation will present the agreement to the Federal Executive Council. The concessionaire will then be taken to the site for sod-turning. It is expected that construction will commence immediately after the ceremony. The timeline for completion is 12 months.”

The council noted that the negotiations were moderated by the Federal Ministry of Transportation led by the acting Permanent Secretary and the Director, Maritime Services, Auwalu Suleiman.

Other persons involved in the negotiations include the Director-General, ICRC, Chidi Izuwa, and a representative of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Jummai Katagum.

The four-day negotiations also had the Secretary to Government of Oyo State, Olubamiwo Adeosun, in attendance, while the CRCC was led by its Deputy Managing Director, Jacques Liao.